Searing tuna is very easy to do. Coating the tuna in a spice mix is helpful for searing and flavor. I like using a Cajun mix, no matter what I’m serving the tuna with. Use a thick pan, like a cast iron, Le Creuset or All-clad to keep the fish from burning. Look for about a quarter of an inch sear on each side of the tuna. Almost any veggie works for this salad — though I always try to use nice juicy summer tomatoes with tuna.
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved, or 2 to 3 ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
1 to 2 cups snap peas, blanched for 30 seconds and run under cold water to keep green
1– 2 carrots, peeled and shredded or cut with a julienne peeler (optional)
1 cup Mermaid Farm feta cheese, or Valbresso feta from the market (optional)
To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the lemon juice, honey, Dijon, oil, garlic, 2 tablespoons herbs, and salt and pepper in a mason jar or bowl.
Sear the tuna about an hour before making the salad. Place the spice mix on a plate and dredge the tuna on both sides. Heat a heavy-bottom or cast iron sauté pan on medium high heat, and when hot, add the oil. Immediately add the tuna and sear on one side, about 2 to 3 minutes, until a 1/4-inch crust forms. Turn the tuna and sear the other side. (The spice mixture helps the tuna form a good crust). Refrigerate the tuna, uncovered, for about an hour. When ready to serve, carefully slice with a sharp knife.
Prepare the remaining ingredients. If prepping ahead, store on a baking sheet in the fridge covered in plastic until ready to serve. (Platters are usually too large to fit in the fridge.)
When ready to serve, spread the greens out on a large serving platter with room enough to show off the toppings. Top with the tuna slices, avocado, red cabbage, carrots, radishes, snap peas, cucumbers and feta, if using.
Pass the dressing at the table, and let each guest spoon or pour on their own. If the dressing separates, remind you diners to whisk or shake before spooning over their salad.
Serving platter: The size of the platter shown in the photo is 19 inches across. It’s a lightweight enamel, purchased at LeRoux. I use it constantly in the summer.
Catherine Walthers, Bluedot’s food editor, is a Martha’s Vineyard-based writer, culinary instructor, and private chef. A former journalist, she is the author of 4 cookbooks, including Kale, Glorious Kale, Soups + Sides, and Raising the Salad Bar. She wrote an environmental guidebook called A Greener Boston published by Chronicle Books in 1992. Follow her on Instagram @catherine_walthers.