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Greek Ahi Salad

Greek Ahi Salad with spanakopita and meyer lemon aioli
Serves 4
Yellowfin tuna is a beautiful item to feature at home for a brunch, appetizer, or Summer entrée. Seared rare and sliced, its color, texture, and ability to work with many different flavors make it a winning item to use often. Asian preparations for yellowfin seem to dominate the restaurant scene, and a quick search of recipes for yellowfin tuna (or “ahi” in Hawaiian) will turn up mostly Japanese-inspired preparations. While I am a fan of wasabi and soy sauce, there is much more that can be done with tuna. Here, the Greek flavors of fresh oregano, lemon juice, and olive oil blend nicely with tuna that is crusted with fennel seed and pepper. Add some spanakopita (spinach and cheese pastries) to make it a meal.
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  1. 4-4oz. pieces fresh or defrosted yellowfin tuna
  2. 1 recipe Fennel Rub (recipe follows)
  3. 1/4 c. vegetable oil
  4. 1 T. extra virgin olive oil
  5. 1 head butter lettuce
  6. 2 oranges
  7. 1/2 c. crumbled feta cheese
  8. 2 T. toasted pine nuts
  9. 1/4 c. seeded and chopped kalamata olives
  10. 1 recipe Marinated Red Onions (recipe follows. Requires advance preparation)
  11. Oregano-Lemon Vinaigrette to taste (recipe follows)
  12. Meyer Lemon Aioli to taste (recipe follows)
  13. 12 spanakopita (store-bought are fine, cook according to directions on package)
For the Fennel Rub
  1. 4 T. salt
  2. 1 T. granulated onion
  3. 1 T. granulated garlic
  4. 4 T. whole black peppercorns
  5. 6 T. whole fennel seed
  6. 1 T. chile flakes
  7. 1/2 T. white pepper
For the Marinated Red Onions
  1. 1 red onion
  2. 1/2 c. red wine vinegar
For the Oregano-Lemon Vinaigrette
  1. 1 bunch fresh oregano
  2. 1/4 bunch parsley
  3. 2 shallots
  4. 1 clove garlic
  5. 1/2 t. ground black pepper
  6. 1/2 t. salt
  7. 1 T. Dijon mustard
  8. 1/2 c. lemon juice
  9. 1/4 c. white wine vinegar
  10. 1 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
For the Meyer Lemon Aioli
  1. 1 egg yolk
  2. 2 T. meyer lemon juice
  3. pinch salt
  4. 1 clove garlic
  5. 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
  1. Coat tuna pieces in Fennel Rub. Heat the two oils in a non-stick skillet on high heat until the oil almost smokes. Carefully add tuna and cook for about 10 seconds. Turn the tuna and continue to cook on all sides for about 10 seconds. Remove tuna from pan onto paper towels and set aside. Chop butter lettuce and section oranges. Place lettuce, oranges, feta, pine nuts, olives, and Marinated Red Onions in a large salad bowl and toss with Oregano-Lemon Vinaigrette. Portion onto four plates. Slice each piece of ahi thinly into 4-6 slices and arrange on top of salads. Drizzle tuna with Meyer Lemon Aioli. Place three spanakopita on plate around the salad and serve.
For the Fennel Rub
  1. Combine all in a spice or coffee grinder and grind coarsely.
For the Marinated Red Onions
  1. Peel onion and slice into thin rings. Cover onion slices with vinegar and let sit for at least an hour, preferably overnight.
For the Oregano Lemon Vinaigrette
  1. Pick leaves from oregano and parsley stems and discard stems. Peel shallots and garlic and roughly chop. Combine all ingredients except oil in a blender and blend on high speed. Slowly drizzle in oil while blender is running.
For the Meyer Lemon Aioli
  1. Put yolk, lemon juice, and salt in a small stainless mixing bowl. Peel and mince garlic and add to bowl. With a whisk, mix yolk mixture rapidly until light and frothy, about a minute. While whisking, slowly add olive oil in a thin stream. The aioli should have the texture of mayonnaise.