Already Perfect

I am forever tinkering with recipes. There are recipes that beg to be improvised, others that stand to be improved, and of course, those that are being developed. But once in a while, you come across a recipe that is already perfect. You know it…

Already Perfect

I am forever tinkering with recipes. There are recipes that beg to be improvised, others that stand to be improved, and of course, those that are being developed.

But once in a while, you come across a recipe that is already perfect. You know it is perfect when you first taste it, and you certainly know it’s perfect when you try to be clever and do something different, only to realize: you should have never changed a thing.

A couple of years ago, when I was looking for a fun way to prepare ahi tuna, I stumbled upon a recipe from Tyler Florence for Pan-Seared Tuna with Avocado, Soy, Ginger and Lime. The recipe was perfect. The ingredients, the proportions, the preparation – flawless. Time and again, I prepared it, and it never failed me.

Then one day, I got a little cocky, and thought, Alright Tyler, this is fantastic, but I bet the dish would be just as good prepared on a grill.

I was wrong. The grill-seared tuna was wonderful, but you really need to finish the fish off in a pan, to allow the juices to work its magic. The last critical moment of searing with the quick kiss of the lime, soy, ginger and cilantro sauce is what makes the pan-searing win over the grill preparation. When attempted over a grill, the precious sauce is simply lost through the grates.

Tyler Florence, you were right. If you are reading this, thank you for a fabulous recipe. I will never doubt it again.

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Pan-Seared Tuna with Avocado, Soy, Ginger and Lime

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From Tyler Florence. Original recipe can be found here.

  • 2 big handfuls fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • ½ jalapeno, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Pinch sugar
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 (6-ounce) block sushi-quality tuna
  • 1 ripe avocado, halved, peeled, pitted, and sliced

Please follow original recipe for preparation. The only suggestion I have is making a little more sauce, if you desire. Sometimes it’s nice to have extra!



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    • Liren

      Thanks, Belinda! I definitely learned that lesson the hard way!

  1. Monet

    Cilantro, avocado, fresh ginger, seared tuna…wow, I’m drooling. As if the picture wasn’t already enough, the list of ingredients is stellar too! There is no question that this would be an amazing entree.

    • Liren

      Hi Monet, it really is a fantastic recipe. I love serving it to guests – even people who are not big tuna fans are converted!

  2. Roxan

    I made some seared tuna recently also, and i thought it turned out pretty good… but now looking at yours I see that it actually turned out as crap! hahah…

    • Liren

      LOL, Roxan, you made me guffaw out loud with your comment! I’m sure your tuna was amazing!!!

  3. Jean

    I really like the cilantro topping. This piece of tuna is just as you said, perfect. I’ve wondered before how much of a recipe’s intended essence I’ve missed out on because I’m also so prone to tweak. I think that Tyler Florence is pretty right on, too.

    I think we’re on the same wavelength. I prepared sea bass this weekend with sake/ginger/soy, two common ingredients. Of course, you photographed yours beautifully, as usual. :-)

    • Liren

      Jean, we really must be on the same wavelength! I ate a LOT of fish last week – probably making up for a lot of beef consumption. I do believe our body lets us know what it is craving and we just have to listen to the cravings! Also, I haven’t come across any bad Tyler Florence recipes – he is usually very spot on!

    • Liren

      Kim, thank you so much! I’m glad you like it :)

    • Liren

      LOL, you remind me of my little brother – always needs the rice! But this is one dish where you actually won’t miss it! I assure you :)

    • Liren

      Priscilla, isn’t it great? I’m glad to hear from someone else who has made this before! I can’t tell you how many times I tried tweaking it before finally admitting it was perfect the way it is! LOL. And thank you, I’m glad you like the photo!

    • Liren

      Oh, do let me know – I always love to hear how others like the dishes. You will definitely love this recipe – such wonderful flavors!

  4. Brian @ A Thought For Food

    Liren, this looks fantastic! What a perfect sear! There’s nothing better than a wonderfully cooked (or slightly cooked) piece of tuna. And the soy/ginger/lime must have been lovely!

    • Liren

      Thank you! I agree with you about the slightly cooked tuna. Venture too far into the sear and you lose the buttery texture and flavor of the fish! Plus, I love how quickly this dish is to throw together :)

    • Liren

      Thank you Kelsey! I was worried that it would be hard to photograph and capture how amazing this tuna is!

    • Liren

      It’s so true how it’s nice when you find the perfect recipe (though I admit I love to play around with them – it’s hard to resist!).

  5. Vivian Yu

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    SFChefs 2010 will be held at Union Square in San Francisco, August 13th-15th, 2010 and is celebrating the local flair and regional flavors of San Francisco. This premier food, wine and spirits event will offer opportunities to interact with notable chefs, mixologists and culinary personalities. Participating chefs include Gary Danko, Tyler Florence and Thomas Keller, among others. SFChefs 2010 will support the Golden Gate Restaurant Association Scholarship Foundation, which grants financial scholarships to students from the Bay Area entering culinary and hospitality programs.

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    Vivian Yu
    Visa Outreach Team

    P.S. To learn more about additional food and wine events, including Sonoma Country Wine Weekend, please visit:

    • Liren

      Thanks, Vivian! I do wish i can attend this event – it sounds like it will be such a wonderful time, and for a very nice cause!

  6. Jenn @ Chinese Baba

    Ooooh.. gorgeous! Absolutely beautiful. Sometimes you just can’t fix something that ain’t broke. Sometimes the grill must give in to the pan? lol…

    • Liren

      LOL, Jenn, you’re right. This is one dish where the grill gives into the pan!

    • Liren

      Believe me, I’ve tried! But this is great just the way it is!

  7. christine

    There is basically nothing in the seafood world that I love more than seared tuna. I wish I was eating it right now…

    • Liren

      I absolutely agree, Christine. I find myself instantly drawn to it whenever I see it on a menu. But to know I can make it at home, and so deliciously, is even better :)

    • Liren

      Joy, thank you so much for this award! I am so very touched, and am especially honored to be chosen with such wonderful, creative bloggers!

  8. A Little Yumminess

    I have never made tuna but I am going to have to try this. Looks simple and delicious….dinner isn’t till 9 pm and I should not be reading food blogs!

    • Liren

      I hope you do try it – it’s quick, it’s simple, and even my kids love it!! I hope yours do too!

    • Liren

      Thank you, Jun!! I must credit the quality of the fish and the ingredients – the sear is the easy part!

    • Liren

      Cristina, I agree! When I crave tuna, this is what I look for!!!

    • Liren

      Thank you Chef Dennis!!! Making Top 9 has made for a wonderful start to my Tuesday!


    Perfectly cooked Ahi is like having a perfectly cooked steak – and this recipe has it all. Next time my butcher has Ahi, I’ll grab a piece & make this!

  10. Debi(Table Talk)

    What I love about this one is it really keeps the focus on good quality fish. The soy, lime, and avocado are there to bring out the flavor of the tuna.
    Tyler would be proud of your pan searing–beautiful color!

  11. FrenchPressMemos

    That picture is perfection! What a stunning, flawless sear. I am a huge tuna lover- huge- and this just makes me crave it. Not easy to find great tuna in landlocked Denver, but I bet I could round myself a good piece.

    • Liren

      Andra, thank you! I’m sure you can find an excellent cut of tuna in Denver – you’re in a fantastic foodie town :) Hope you got to satisfy the craving!

  12. Kimba

    I have to agree with everyone else and say what a STUNNING photo you took of this perfect seared tuna!!

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