I've lived in California since 2005. The gorgeous weather, great surf and year-round strawberries lured me from Brooklyn, and it has held me fast for nearly ten years. I have a nice smattering of family here. I have what I thought was my dream job, biking my way through sunny mornings to talk about healthy food all day. I thought I would never leave.
Life throws you curveballs. People you thought would be there forever, aren't. And new people enter your life and change the way you think. You realize that even though you're not where you thought you would be, it's OK. New dreams evolve from the old ones. Crazy ideas become not so crazy. And sometimes, you just know, it's now or never.
I started Borrowed Salt when I had some downtime, and my energy needed to be channeled somewhere positive. So I started writing, and piecing together makeshift light boxes, and thinking about website navigation, and Googling code, and celebrating over pieces of slate I found in an alley and clearance napkins from West Elm. And I've never been so energized. I need to ride this wave a little further, find some perspective, and a few new kitchens to cook in along the way.
So, here goes. This week I'll be heading to Cork, Ireland to get a cook's certificate amidst a 100-acre organic farm called Ballymaloe. It will be hard work, with rotations in the gardens and the cows along with a full roster of culinary classes and exams. I'll be broke, and I'm not sure for how long. I'm not sure what I'll do next. But I do know that I'm saying goodbye to Cali, for now.
Today's post is my homage to California. It's a salad jammed full of all the flavors and produce that remind me of living here - avocado, oranges, pistachios, and glistening pink Ahi tuna sliced thin and served nearly raw. The tuna is marinated quickly in Sriracha, in a special nod to our favorite backyard fume factory.
I love this place, and I think I'll be back. But if I'm not, I know it will be because I'm doing something amazing. Or, it's because I'm flat broke in my parents' basement...
Sriracha Seared Tuna and Avocado Salad with Orange and Pistachio
Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 20 min Cook Time: 3 min Total Time: 23 min
1 lb fresh ahi tuna, top quality
1 Tbs Sriracha
1 Tbs plus 1 tsp soy sauce, divided
2 Tbs plus 1 Tbs olive or grapeseed oil, divided
2 oranges or blood oranges
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
salt and pepper
Fresh mixed greens (Spring mix, arugula, butter lettuce all work well)
0.5 cup / 115 g pistachios, chopped
1 avocado, sliced thin
Mix together 1 Tbs soy sauce and Sriracha, then marinate tuna in mixture for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut end off each orange, and peel using a knife, getting rid of all the white pith. Holding orange over a bowl, use knife to section oranges, cutting out membranes. Remove sections from bowl and leave juice. Whisk in 1 tsp soy sauce, 2 Tbs olive oil, lime juice, and sesame oil. Set aside for dressing.
Heat skillet with 1 Tbs oil over medium-high heat. Remove fish from marinade and pat dry. Rub both sides with freshly ground pepper and a good dash of salt. Sear about a minute per side, then 30 seconds on each of the thinner sides. Remove to a cutting board and let coast. The tuna will be basically raw with just seared edges.
In a large salad bowl, toss together greens, pistachios and orange slices with dressing. Top with avocado and tuna slices.