When we chose this recipe from the Top Chef Quickfire cookbook (by contestant Elia in season 2), it called for a spinach salad. But we’d been to Manny’s the night before for K’s birthday celebration so we had monster asparagus left over and substituted that instead. We were also looking forward to something light after a cavalcade of meat, cream and chocolate the night before.
This one was pretty simple and didn’t take us long to prepare. The key was searing the ahi tuna just enough — a little crisp on the outside with a “meaty” cooked ring surrounding a softer, flavorful warm, raw-ish tuna core. K did a masterful job with the tuna cookery. It would have been almost too much tuna richness without the honey sesame glaze. The sesame seeds provided a perfect nuttiness and needed crunch.
I don’t care much for mustard, but the mustard vinaigrette on top of the asparagus was perfect. Mostly because I’d found honey truffle mustard on sale at Byerly’s the day before. The honey in it was sweet and played off the honey in the tuna glaze. The truffle was dark and earthy and offset the mustard taste.
We mmmm’d our way through this one, happy to have cut about 8 million calories off the previous evening’s meal. Until the next night when I didn’t get home until after 9pm and, starving, ate the leftover Manny’s hash browns and a piece of frozen cookie dough for dinner. Oh well, every night can’t be Top Chef night, can it?