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Seared Ahi with Lilikoi-Shrimp Salsa
Roy Yamaguchi. From "Roy's Fish and Seafood: Recipes from the Pacific Rim", Ten Speed Press. Used by permission.


It seems a shame that the bright, vibrant, carmine color of raw tuna turns an indifferent brownish-white when it's cooked, but I like to make up for this by serving tuna with colorful accompaniments whenever possible. This delicious salsa is a good example. Lilikoi is the Hawaiian word for the highly aromatic tropical passion fruit, whose flavor really sets the palate tingling. Here in the islands, the yellow-skinned passion fruit is more common than the purple variety, but you can us either one to equally good effect in this recipe. Serve this dish with rice if desired.

Lilikoi-Shrimp Salsa

1 ripe passion fruit, halved
4 ozs extra-large shrimp (about 4), peeled, deveined and diced
1/2 Tbs olive oil
1/4 cup minced Maui or other sweet white onion
1 large Roma tomato, peeled, seeded and finely diced
2 Tbs finely sliced scallions including green part
1 Tbs minced fresh cilantro
1 tsp Tabasco
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Scoop the seeds and pulp from the passion fruit with a spoon and press it through a fine-mesh sieve. Reserve the juice (about 1 tablespoon) and discard the seeds and pulp. Put the shrimp in a small bowl and toss with the olive oil to coat. Set a dry stainless steel saute pan over high heat and when hot, add the shrimp. Sear, turning often, until evenly pink, about 1 minute. Transfer to a non-reactive bowl and add the reserved passion fruit juice, onion, tomato, scallions, cilantro, Tabasco and salt and pepper to taste. Toss well to combine. Cover and refrigerate.

Tuna

4 (7 ounce) ahi tuna steaks
3 Tbs peanut oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the ahi on a plate, coat with the peanut oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set a dry cast-iron skillet over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes and when hot, sear the ahi for about 30 seconds on each side for rare, or about 1 1/2 minutes on each side for medium-rare.

To serve: Transfer the ahi to serving plate and spoon the salsa over the tuna, letting the juices from the salsa run onto the plates.

Yield: 4 main course servings

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