Mustard Seed Dressing (recipe follows)
1 1/2 pounds center-cut Ahi tuna or 4 (4 to 6-ounce) 1-inch thick sushi-quality tuna steaks
1 teaspoon coarse salt
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1 teaspoon white peppercorns
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons dried culinary lavender flowers*
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups savory mixed fresh greens and herbs
* Lavender - In cooking, use 1/3 the quantity of dried lavender flowers to fresh lavender flowers. The key to cooking with lavender is to experiment; start out with a small amount of flowers, and add more as you go.
Adding too much lavender to your recipe can be like eating perfume and will make your dish bitter. Because of the strong flavor of lavender, the secret is that a little goes a long way.
Prepare Mustard Seed Dressing; set aside.
If using the center-cut Ahi tuna, trim and cut the tuna into a block approximately 2 inches across; then cut into 1-inch steaks.
Crush the salt, peppercorns, fennel seeds, and lavender with a mortar and pestle or a rolling pin.
Lightly oil the tuna with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil. Then evenly coat the tuna with the lavender-pepper mixture, patting off any excess.
In a heavy bottomed sautpan or a cast-iron pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Increase the heat to high and place the tuna in the pan. Sear for 1 minutes, then turn over carefully, reducing the heat to medium. Sear the other side for 1 more minutes until medium rare. Remove from heat and immediately refrigerate the tuna for at least 1 hour, but no more than 3 hours.
To serve, arrange the greens on chilled individual serving plates. Drizzle with Mustard Seed Dressing. Thinly slice the tuna and arrange on top of the dressed greens.
Makes 8 servings.
Mustard Seed Dressing:
4 tablespoons prepared whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons toasted mustard seed
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
3 tablespoons vegetable stock or water
1 teaspoon honey (or to taste)
Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Place mustard seeds in a baking pan. Place in oven and roast for a couple of minutes (watch carefully so the seeds do not burn). Remove from oven and let cool.
Whisk all the ingredients together and season to taste.