A Friday around March may be just another Friday to most of the world, but the parts of the Philippines that were most affected by religious colonization it often means a diet restricted to seafood and vegetables thanks to Lenten season. This abstinence of pork, beef and poultry has become a cultural aspect of Manila, with establishments boasting their limited edition seafood dishes (Jollibee tuna pie, for example). Yes, the irony isn’t lost on us that sacrifice can mean decadent seafood dishes for some, so here’s one dish that holds onto that irony and rolls with it.
Seared tuna ought to be sushi-grade (ask for “saku blocks” at the frozen section of your local supermarket) as we just want to lightly sear the exterior to hold in the juicy, red, raw center. Warning: biting into this sandwich will leave juice dripping down your chin. It’s a messy dish with an unhinged saltiness that pairs well with a cold soda, ideal for these hot already-summer-like nights.
Seared Tuna Sandwich with Scallion Sauce
Serves: 2-4 people
Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
2 tbsp. ginger, grated
2 cups scallions, sliced
1 cup cilantro, finely chopped
2 tsp. salt
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp. sesame oil
Seared Tuna Sandwich
4 200g portions tuna
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 small sesame seed buns
In a large heatproof bowl, combine the ginger, scallions, cilantro, salt, and sesame oil. In a pot, heat the vegetable oil until just simmering. Remove from the heat and pour the hot oil over the vegetables. This will sizzle.
Stir together the vegetables and oil and allow to cool at room temperature.
Rub the 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil on the tuna and season with salt and pepper.
Sear in a pan over medium-high heat, about 30 seconds each side, until the tuna is browned but still raw in the center.
Toast the buns in an oven or skillet.
To assemble, spoon the scallion sauce onto the buns, followed by a piece of tuna, more sauce, and the top bun.
Bea Osmeña is a healthy-ish eater who is just as likely to take you to a vegan joint as she is to consume a whole cheese pie to herself. A former picky eater, Bea has discovered the joys of savory fruit dishes, but still refuses to accept pineapples on her pizza. On the rare occasion you catch her without food in her mouth, you are likely to find her looking at books she can't afford, hugging trees, or talking to strange animals on the street.