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Röckenwagner – Santa Monica, CA

Love at first bite! Patti was dining in Hans’ restaurant the night they met. Hans won Patti over immediately, and they have been a culinary power-duo ever since. Opposites truly do attract – Hans and Patti believe the key to their successful relationship lies in their different styles and focuses. Says Hans of their relationship, “We build on each other’s strengths and work hard on each other’s weaknesses.” Sounds like a match made in heaven to us!

Spicy Seared Tuna Sashimi with Sesame Vinaigrette

Chef Hans Röckenwagner of Röckenwagner – Santa Monica, CA
Adapted by StarChefs

Yield: 6 servings


  • 1 ½ pounds sushi-quality Ahi tuna
  • 6 cups loosely packed Mizuna greens, curly endive, or red leaf lettuce
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped chives to garnish
  • Salt, to taste
  • White pepper, to taste
    Ginger butter
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
    Sesame Vinaigrette
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ Tablespoon white sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil

For the ginger butter:
Melt the butter over low heat, stir in the ginger and remove from the heat. Allow the mixture to infuse for at least 2 to 3 hours or overnight for the flavor to develop.

For the vinaigrette:
In a small saucepan, heat the vinegar and whisk in the sugar until it is dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool. Stir in the salt, pepper, sesame seeds, and soy sauce, then whisk in the sesame and vegetable oils, whisking until the mixture is completely emulsified.

For the tuna:
Reheat the butter and ginger infusion until it is soft enough to spread easily. Brush six 5x5-inch squares of aluminum foil with some of this mixture, and sprinkle with salt and white pepper. With a very sharp knife, slice the tuna against the grain about 3/8” thick and lay 2 slices in a single layer on each piece of foil. Preheat a grill, grill pan, or large, heavy skillet to very high heat.

Toss the greens with just enough vinaigrette to coat the leaves. Reserve the remaining vinaigrette for another use. Mound an equal amount of the salad on each of 6 serving plates.

Transfer the sheets of foil to the hot grill and cook for about 30 seconds, or until the tuna is seared on one side and still raw on the other. Immediately transfer the tuna slices, raw side up, to the plates, draping them around the edges of the salad. Garnish with the chives and serve immediately.

 Published: Feb 2004