Seared Blue Fin Tuna with Compressed Asian Pear, Watercress and Pomegranate

“To me, similar colors in food means similar and harmonious densities of flavor,” says Peter Turso, executive chef of Ursino in Union. “In this case I saw a match in the striking crimson hues of tuna and pomegranate. The two flavors co-exist separately on the palate, but also harmonize to create something delicious and beautiful, like a chord in music.”

The main dining area with the bar above.
Photo by David Michael Howarth.

Serves: 4


(4) 2”x 2”x 2” cubes of high quality tuna, approx 3 oz each
2 Tbsp. Pink Peppercorns
2 Tbsp. Szechuan peppercorns
fine sea salt.


Place each type of peppercorn in a spice grinder SEPARATELY and grind to medium course. It’s important not to grinder the spices together because they grind at different rates. Do not grind to a fine dust.
Combine the two peppercorns and lay out on a small plate.  
Season the tuna loins with sea salt on all 4 sides.
Heat a cast iron or stainless steel pan over medium heat.
Dip one side of the tuna cubes in the peppercorns to coat liberally.
Add 2-3 tbsp of oil to hot pan and add tuna peppercorn-side down and cook for 3 ½ minutes. Be sure the heat is not so high it scorches the peppercorns. They should toast lightly and form a crust.
Flip tuna and continue to sear for 1 minute on the remaining sides. The goal is to cook rare.
Remove to paper towel. Do this just before you are about to execute the final plating; the tuna should be warm

Pomegranate Sesame Vinaigrette
24 oz. pomegranate juice, preferably from fresh pomegranates (save some seeds for garnish)
2 tbsp. Sesame oil
¼ cup Mirin wine
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar.


Place strained pomegranate juice in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer, Skim any impurities and continue to simmer until it reduces to just under ¼ cup. 
Once reduced, allow to cool and combine the mirin, sesame oil and pomegranate reduction in a separate bowl and reserve.

A word about the Asian pears:

We cut them into large julienne ¼” x ¼” x 1.5” and make a solution of 1 cup water and 1 cup white verjus and 2 grams citiric acid. We then add the pears soaked in the solution to a vaccum chamber to compress them. The result turns the flesh of the plant clear and infuses and amplifies the flavor… In the home you can get away with just using them fresh…

Final Assembly
1 Asian pear, peeled and cut into julienne ¼” x ¼” x 1.5”
1 bunch watercress, picked through for top leaves and thick stems removed.
2 to 4 shiitake mushroom caps sliced thin.
Pomegranate seeds
reserved vinaigrette
Fleur de Sel


Begin by heating a medium sauce pan over high heat.
Add 3 tbsp.canola oil. The oil should smoke lightly.
Introduce the shiitake mushrooms and sear until the mushrooms absorb almost all the oil and get a beautiful toasted golden brown finish.
Remove from the heat and add all the pomegranate vinaigrette into the pot. Now you have the finished sauce.
Combine the Asian pears with the watercress and toss with a touch of salt, pepper and a touch of lemon juice and olive oil.
On 4 plates, place a small nest of the salad, slice the tuna in half to expose the eye and place it on the plate, offset on the salad.
Finish by dividing a small amount of the shiitake mushrooms between all 4 plates and spoon pomegranate vinaigrette over the mushrooms and some onto the rest of the plate. 
Garnish with pomegranate seeds and place a small amount of fleur de sel on the eye of the tuna.  Enjoy-

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