Jun 042010
The vast majority of the time I’d say I make pretty basic recipes.  Not basic in a bad way, but the kind of things you’d make any night of the week.  Tasty, but not necessarily impressive.  But once in a while I try to go outside the box and class up my food a bit.  This was one of those nights.  Not only did I cook tuna for the first time ever, I also chose a recipe that was exciting, different, and SO flavorful.  Even the title of this post is a mouthful…but I just couldn’t leave out any of those crucial components from the name because it just wouldn’t be right.

The first step to these tacos can be done well in advance if you want…making the sweet and spicy Chipotle-Orange reduction.  

All you do is simmer chopped chipotle in adobo, fresh orange juice and some vinegar until it reduces.  This sauce didn’t really look like much at first, but the flavors worked incredibly well together and really added to the complexity of these tacos.  At first taste this sauce is delicate and sweet, but beware…it packs a punch.

While the sauce simmers, you can assemble the jicama slaw (which I obviously forgot to photograph).  All it is is match stick jicama, red pepper, lime juice, and cilantro.  It adds freshness and a necessary crunch to these tacos.  Next step is to make the magical tuna spice rub: cumin, corriander, chili powder, salt, and black pepper.  

Rub both sides of the tuna with a tiny bit of olive oil and then with the spice rub.  Let your grill pan get hot, and then quickly grill for only about 2 minutes per side so it stays rare in the center.  Mmmm doesn’t that look pretty? (for a big hunk of raw fish that is…)

And that’s it for the tuna.  Let it rest for 5 or 10 minutes before you slice it like you would with a steak. And now, the most important part: taco assembly.  This isn’t the type of taco that you glop together and stuff in your mouth.  No no no, this one takes finesse.  I started with a corn tortilla topped with a little arugula for a fresh peppery flavor.  Then I topped it with a few thin tuna slices, some of the jicama slaw and a drizzle of the Orange-Chipotle reduction.  And on top of all that, a thin slice of avocado for creaminess.  Hungry yet???

Nutritional Highlights: Tuna is very nutrient dense and a 4 oz portion only has 157 calories (woo woo).  Not only is it really high in protein, it’s also a great source of selenium, magnesiu, potassium, B vitamins, and the ever important OMEGA-3’S! Omega 3’s are said to do some pretty amazing things for your cardiovascular health so try to encorporate them into your diet twice a week.  Tuna, though, is pretty high on the food chain (not as high as us though, as is evident in this post).  Because of this, it accumulates toxins such as mercury so you should limit your weekly intake.  Check out this handy calculator if you’re not sure.

Chili-Crusted Tuna Tacos with Orange-Chipotle Reduction and Jicama Slaw


  • 1 cup fresh squeeze orange juice (2 oranges)
  • 1 tablespoon minced chipotles in adobo (including sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 3/4 pound good quality tuna steak (serves 2)
  • 1.5 teaspoon each: coriander, cumin, chili powder, kosher salt, cracked black pepper
Slaw and toppings:
  • 3/4 cup matchstick pieces of jicama
  • 1/2 cup matchstick pieces of red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Arugula and sliced avocado for toppings

1.  Bring orange juice, chipotle, and vinegar to a boil in a saucepan.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes as the sauce reduces.  Set aside sauce until you’re ready to serve.
2. Mix the jicama, red pepper, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Set aside until you’re ready to serve.
3.  Mix all spices for the tuna rub.  Rub the steak with a little bit of olive oil and then rub generously with the spice mixture.
4.  Heat grill and cook tuna uninterrupted for about 2-3 minutes on each side.  Less/more depending on how rare/well you like it cooked.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes and then slice thinly against the grain.
5.  Assemble your tacos: warm corn tortilla+baby arugula+tuna+jicama slaw+avocado slice+orange-chipotle reduction=an incredible taco that’s totally guest worthy.  Enjoy!!

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