Pasta Salad with Seared Tuna and Citrus Dressing

Here's an ideal warm-weather meal with the refreshing flavors of mint, orange, lemon, and cucumber. Tuna, hot from the pan, is cut into chunks and tossed with the room-temperature pasta salad. You could also cook the tuna outside on the grill.

Yield: 4
Recipe from Food & Wine

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound spaghettini
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest (from about 1/4 orange)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt
  • Fresh-ground black pepper
  • 6 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut crosswise into thin slices
  • 6 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1 pound tuna steak, about 1 inch thick

Preparation

  1. 1. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the spaghettini until just done, about 9 minutes. Drain. Rinse with cold water; drain thoroughly.
  2. 2. In a large glass or stainless-steel bowl, whisk together the vinegar, orange zest, orange juice, lemon juice, mustard, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add 6 tablespoons of the oil slowly, whisking. Add the spaghettini, cucumbers, and mint and toss.
  3. 3. Heat a grill pan or heavy frying pan over moderately high heat. Coat the tuna with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper. Cook, turning once, until done to your taste, about 2 minutes per side for medium rare. Remove. Cut the tuna into 1-inch chunks and toss with the spaghettini.
  4. Fish Alternatives: You could use salmon fillets or swordfish steaks in place of the tuna. For either, add a few minutes to the cooking time.
  5. Wine Recommendation: Whether you make this salad with tuna or one of the alternatives listed in the box below, a dry riesling from Alsace will be splendid. Its lime, mineral, and herbal notes will brilliantly echo the salad and set off the fish.
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