spice-crusted tuna and mango chatini {ffwd}


We enjoy eating fish, any variety, but I usually prepare it very simply and then fancy up the side dishes to make an interesting plate. Most of the fish we eat are heftier ones that lend themselves to grilling in summer and broiling in winter. Others, such as cod or halibut, I typically bake. Only fillets of lighter white fish, such as flounder, sole, or tilapia, are cooked on my stovetop. This week’s recipe for spice-crusted tuna pushed me to mix up and cross over my known boundaries. That’s part of what French Fridays with Dorie is all about, right?

I’ve discovered that frozen ahi tuna steaks are a regularly-stocked item at Trader Joe’s, so I only had to plan ahead for thawing. Fragrant spices are pounded with a mortar and pestle (so satisfying) to coarsely crush the peppercorns, cardamom and coriander seeds and turn the fresh ginger into a paste to loosely glue it all together. The tuna is lightly rubbed with oil, coated in the spice mixture, and seared in a hot skillet. The whole process from pantry to plate takes less than 10 minutes.

spice coated tuna

The mango chatini was a little more time-consuming because it involved a lot of chopping. It was not onerous, and it was definitely worth it. The chatini is like a salsa. In fact, it is very similar to the mango guacamole that Howard makes when Champagne or Ataulfo mangos are in season. His concoction includes avocado, which would have been at home in this chatini, and doesn’t use any ginger. Otherwise, they’re pretty much the same.

The chatini was the perfect topping/garnish for the spice-crusted tuna. I really liked the way the ginger flavors in both the chatini and the spice crust pulled the meal together. We ate the leftover chatini with tortilla chips, just like we do with guacamole.

Spices to Grind

Tuna is one fish that I’ve only cooked at home for French Fridays. I really enjoyed the spiced crust in this recipe. Even though I was the one who prepared it, the flavors popping in my mouth still surprised me. However, as much as I do like tuna, honestly, I prefer it as sushi (or canned, which is its own thing) rather than cooked.

This week, I’m enamored with this recipe for roasted root vegetables. I served the tuna with jasmine rice and these vegetables. To me, the key parts are the roasted vegetables and the honey topping. The honey topping makes more than you need for one batch, so I’ve already made it again. The bacon adds great flavor (of course), but I made my second batch without and it was equally delicious. Winter squash isn’t a root vegetable, but it would be perfect in your custom vegetable medley. As Mikey always said, “Try it, you’ll like it!”

Dinner Plate

I invite you to check out my friend Lisa’s new blog Hawley’s Food Path. Lisa is my (in-person) friend who I met at a Nantucket basket weaving class at least a decade ago. We also belong to the same local garden club. Lisa loves to cook, and recently, we were talking about French Fridays. She was inspired to order the book, create a blog, and jump in with us this week. She’s really excited. Please visit her blog and give her a warm welcome to our group! I know you’ll enjoy her warmth and humor as much as I do.

To see how the other Doristas’ tuna came out, check out their links here. We don’t post the recipes, but you can find it in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.


Posted on 23 January 2015, in Fish, French Fridays with Dorie and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. Betsy, I am so glad that Lisa is joining us. You and she will have a good time comparing notes and recipes. She’s lucky to have you in her corner. I look forward to her getting her Post up. I had never heard the word “chatini” before. I didn’t make it although I think a fruit garnish/topping/salsa would be delicious with this, so I am glad you did and paved the way. I am also always looking for a new way to do roasted vegetables. So, thank you. Your Post was packed with all kinds of interesting tidbits this week. Nicely done.

  2. Ooh, that root veggie recipe looks delicious. Why have I never thought to add bacon or beets to my roasted veggies before? That mango guac looks right up my alley as well.

  3. Your dishes look fantastic Betsy. I didn’t make this yet. Maybe this weekend. I’m going to be up north. So I suppose I need to think about what I’m going to make! Happy Friday

  4. I enjoyed this recipe, too, but do agree that I like it even better raw :) Off to say hi to Lisa!

  5. Yay for new Doristas! Your meal looks just perfect – Trader Joe’s is awesome for hard-to-find items.
    Bon Weekend!

  6. I make roasted veggies all the time…but mine don’t have bacon and honey on them….love this recipe! Thanks for sharing, Betsy!
    Your tuna looks fabulous with the mango chatini…such a lovely dinner! Happy Friday! And welcome to Lisa!

  7. I will hop over to Lisa’s blog as soon as I finish this comment. Your roasted veg looks great! I love roasting all vegetables. It makes them so much more flavorful! Your tuna looks great too. I also used frozen but I didn’t like it. Everyone seemed to like this but us. Its making me question if I did it right!

  8. I love that you paired it with rice and roasted veggies! :) I loved this one and I agree with you about tuna though, sushi or canned – this in between stuff confuddles me… LOL

  9. I think rice would be a good accompaniment, especially with the chatini.

  10. Yeah, some one else who gets tuna raw or canned but not in between. I really think it’s the contradicting textures of it cooked outside and raw inside, it’s like two different fish. Also excited to hear about all the ways you cook fish through out the year. I was getting concerned that I am the solo fish lover.

  11. Looks great, Betsy! Thanks for the info on the chatini–I was in the process of peeling a mango for it when I realized the mango had kind of gone bad. :( I also agree re the tuna. It was fine seared, but I kind of like it in sushi better!

  12. Thanks so much for the reminder about the roasted vegetables recipe. I remember reading about it (I love Tasting Table) and wanting to try it, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. I’m also really glad to know that it works even without the bacon. Thanks also for the mango guacamole recipe. That sounds delicious.

  13. I love the roasted vegetable recipe, will have to give that a try. This was not a favorite for
    us, but I would like to try this recipe with swordfish and see how that works out. Also, I’m
    sorry I did not try the mango recipe for this.

  14. Yay- love that you have a recruit !!! I am stopping over there next. Pete is definitely in your camp about how you enjoy tuna but be assured, even though he referred to it as “blackened” he still absolutely enjoyed having tuna for his FFWD selection this week. Thanks also for sharing the veggie recipe – looks and sounds amazing and I am definitely going to try this one out. Still enjoying the recent memories of the lovely visit and the fabulous foodie spots you shared with us. Also got your wonderful card and it made my day :)

  15. I love root vegetables so I will check out that recipe. I do love fish just not tuna or mussels. See you next Friday.

  16. Hopping on over to Lisa’s blog :) Yay another Dorista! I think from this week I learned that I need to try the mango chatini ;)

  17. Wonderful meal you have on that plate!

  18. peggygilbey814628432

    Hello Betsy! Its so interesting reading the comments of those among your Dorista group and your insights into the varying dishes that you prepare. I thought your tuna looked amazing, when I read your story over the weekend, but then we had some sort of in and out on our internet so when I went to look on your friend Lisa’s website- poof- well there went that for the moment! I never really thought about it, but I too prefer tuna raw. The root vegetables look tasty! As always, an enjoyable post.

  19. I am kind of crushing on those roasted vegetables too.
    Your fish & salsa look delicious.
    Thinking about you in the path of Juno – stay safe and warm!

  20. Such great looking spices!

  21. Looks like a great meal! I will have to try the root veggie recipe – it sounds delicious!

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