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Coriander and Fennel-Dusted Tuna with Pernod Cucumber Broth, Vinegar, and Mint Cucumbers, Smoked Almonds


2 English cucumbers, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons simple syrup

2 tablespoons Pernod liqueur or any anise-flavored liqueur

1 teaspoon high-quality fish sauce (preferably Red Boat‘s Bourbon Barrel Aged Fish Sauce)

3 medium slicing cucumbers, peeled

1 red onion

1 cup apple cider vinegar

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

10 mint leaves, finely chopped

1½ teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon whole coriander

1 tablespoon whole fennel seed

2 pounds fresh tuna loin, cut into 4 equal portions

2 tablespoons olive oil

¼ cup smoked almonds, crushed for garnish

3 scallions, julienned for garnish


  1. To make cucumber broth, juice English cucumbers, sending pulp back through juicer until all juice is extracted. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together cucumber juice, simple syrup, Pernod, and fish sauce until fully incorporated. Reserve in refrigerator until ready to serve.
  2. Next, make the salad. Shave cucumbers and red onion using a mandoline. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together vinegar, sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, and black pepper until salt and sugar are fully dissolved. Add cucumber, red onion, and mint, and toss to combine. Refrigerate. For best results, make 2 hours in advance.
  3. In a small sauté pan, toast coriander and fennel on low heat until fragrant, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. When cool, grind seeds in a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle. Rub tuna with oil, salt, and ground coriander-fennel mixture.
  4. Coat cast-iron skillet with enough oil to cover bottom of pan. Heat pan over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Place tuna in heated pan and sear on all sides, 1 minute per side, or until it gets a nice sear, and is rare to medium-rare. Remove from pan, and let rest in fridge.
  5. To assemble, place vinegar cucumbers in bowl. Ladle broth into same bowl about ½ inch up the sides. Slice tuna into ½ inch thick slices and fan over top. Garnish with smoked almonds and scallions.
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