The American Southwest is a unique section of the United States that is found nowhere else. It has it’s own unique qualities, traditions and foods. The states of Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Nevada are all states that make up what is known as the American Southwest. Though there are similarities, each state also adds its own particular personality to the mix. It is best described as a mixture of the wild west meets old world Mexico. The people of the Southwest are rebellious in nature, and like to live life by their own rules. This is evident in all they do, and it comes out in the foods they cook as well. Even though I grew up in Southern California, I too have always been a rebel, both in life and in the kitchen. I had the rebellious Southwestern attitude long before I moved to Colorado. I think it comes from having a fiery red-head as a mother who came from Southeast Texas, and an Australian as my dad. Both Texans and Australians are known for being rebels and living life on their own terms as well. I got it from both sides, so you can only imagine how fiery I can be.
The other day, before all this pandemonium struck and there was still food in the stores, I saw these beautiful ahi tuna steaks that were just calling out to me. I love ahi tuna. It is one of my favorites. For whatever reason, when I cook ahi tuna, I tend to make it Asian style, so I am really expanding my possibilities and trying it in many other ways as well. I love all the Latin flavors and styles of cooking, so I decided to give my tuna a Southwestern flavor this time. I will most definitely be preparing it this way again too.
I am sure this goes without saying, since you all know I do my own thing regardless of what recipe I am TRYING to follow, but I look at a recipe, and then instantly make it my own. So of course, it was ONLY inspired from the original, which is normal for me.
Southwestern Ahi Tuna Steaks
1-2 lb ahi tuna steaks
salt & pepper to taste
1/3-1/2 lb Macademia nuts
1 TBSP lime juice
1-2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 TBSP sugar
1 7 oz can of roasted green chilies, diced
2 cups corn
1/4 cup cilantro
1 shallot, minced
1 TBSP garlic
1 tomato, diced
1-2 tsp oregano
Preheat the oven to 375* F.
Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.
Combine the Macademia nuts, olive oil and salt and pepper in a food processor and combine until you have a thick paste. How to Flavor Your Meats
Generously coat the ahi tuna steaks with the Macademia paste and pan-fry in a hot skillet with both butter and olive oil for about 3-5 minutes per side, or until the nuts are browned and a crust has formed.
When the nuts have been browned, place the tuna steaks into the prepared baking dish and roast for about 15-20 minutes. Ahi tuna is BEST when it is pink on the inside, so do not over cook.
As the tuna is cooking, prepare your sauce. In the same skillet, add the lime juice, corn, garlic, shallots, green chilies, sugar and spices, and scrape the bottom of the skillet. Cook for about 5-7 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and cilantro and continue to cook for about 1-2 minutes more.
You can use this sauce/topping with hearty seafood, like ahi tuna, chicken or pork, and it will be great with all. You can also use it as a topping, like I did or as a stuffing. I served this over some leftover couscous along with a my wine & cheese bread Some Colorado Wine & Cheese Bread. My wine choice was a light white blend, which really complimented the spiciness of the sauce perfectly. Let the rebel in you come out. Kick up your heels and your taste buds. Walk on the wild side and enjoy!