Summer has arrived! It teased us with a blast of heat in early March, whetting our appetites for long days in the sun, aimless hours lost in the pages of a book. My most favorite summer-time moments are spent at my in-law’s house, or in their garden, rather. Lounging by the pool with a view of the lake peaking through the rosebushes, I let the sound of the the wind and the chirp of a bird rock me into a lazy nap. I find myself as relaxed as I have ever been. This past weekend marked the beginning of many lazy Sundays for me, and I couldn’t be happier to welcome the season. As I closed my eyes and allowed the weight of the superfluous influences in my life to drift away, thoughts of brilliantly fresh fruit and fish filled my mind. The inspiration for this dish is simply summer. The salsa is a union of four equal parts, all of which call freshness their backbone. Aqueous watermelon stands up to the bright, salty bite of the feta cheese, only to be calmed by the creamy avocado. Basil adds a clean and savory note and we can thank the lime juice for offering acid and rounding out the mix. Atop a barely-seared piece of tuna, you have a dish to welcome the warm evenings ahead. Thank goodness for summer.
I am not sure if this salsa could be easier to create. The most important note is to keep the dice of each component as similar as possible. The smaller the dice the better as it ensures that all elements are accounted for in every bite. Dice quarter-inch cubes of watermelon, feta and avocado and combine in a bowl. You will want one cup of each item. Follow up with one half cup freshly minced basil, one eighth of a tsp kosher salt, and one eighth of a tsp freshly ground black pepper. Toss to combine, being careful not to break the feta and avocado apart.
Not only will the lime add an acidic brightness to this salsa, it will also keep the avocado from turning brown. Squeeze the juice of one lime into the mixture and gently stir.
Tuna is the ideal bed for this salsa and only the freshest will do, particularly since we will be giving it just the slightest kiss from the pan, leaving the center cool and rare. Pat the tuna filets dry and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place a skillet over medium-high heat and warm for one minute. Add one tbs olive oil and allow to heat until rings begin to form in the oil but it isn’t smoking, about one minute longer. Carefully add the tuna and sear for one minute per side for rare. I am working with one-inch thick filets. Add an additional thirty seconds per side for anything larger and, of course, cook to your desired temperature. I highly encourage you to try it rare though for the full effect of the wonderful, natural flavors. Don’t be afraid to ask about the freshness of the fish when visiting the seafood counter. They should be able to tell you where it came from, whether it was farm-raised or wild-caught (preferred) and if it is appropriate for raw preparation. If they can’t tell you that… well, it will be worth you while to expand your horizons!
Plate the tuna as soon as it is seared and top with the watermelon, feta and avocado salsa. Enjoy outdoors in the mild evening of this early summer – the season of relaxation has arrived.
Continue reading for the ingredient list and step-by-step directions!
- one cup watermelon, quarter-inch dice
- one cup feta cheese, quarter-inch dice
- one cup avocado, quarter-inch dice
- one half cup basil, minced
- one eighth tsp kosher salt
- one eighth tsp freshly ground black pepper
- one lime, juiced
- two tuna wild-caught tuna filets of the freshest quality, one-inch thick
- one tbs olive oil
- kosher salt and pepper for seasoning the tuna