Family Meal

by Chef David Ferguson




Seared Blackened Tuna, Pickled Shiitake Mushrooms, Ruby Grapefruit, Purple Potato Chip, Green Onion Soubise, & Ginger Bell Pepper Puree

Prep Time:  60 mins    Cook Time:  1 hour    Serves:  2

A spate of warmer than usual weather had me thinking outside of typical Winter fare.  The bright colors and flavors of this dish can warm up your kitchen no matter what the weather is like outside.  I made my own blackening spice with chili powder, paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme, oregano, and cayenne.  However a store bought blend will do just as well.  Tuna can be cooked like steak, so a temperature range can be used.  I would suggest cooking the tuna quickly, just searing the outside in a very hot pan.  This keeps the texture and flavor you pay for in a nice piece of tuna, in tact.  

There are more than a few steps to this recipe, but don't be intimidated.  Completing each item before moving on to searing the tuna and plating is the easiest way to go about it.  



  • 1 lb fresh Ahi or higher grade Tuna; trimmed and cut into 2"x2"x4" logs
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 4 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • cilantro for garnish
  • grapefruit supremes for garnish


  • 1 cup cleaned shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 3" piece of ginger; pealed and sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp kosher salt

Ginger Bell Pepper Puree-

  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup carrots; sliced
  • 1 3" piece of ginger; peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup fresh grapefruit juice
  • salt to taste

Green Onion Soubise-

  • 1 large yellow onion; thinly sliced
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup whole milk 
  • 1 large bunch fresh green onions
  • salt to taste

Purple Potato Chip-

  • 3 purple potatoes
  • 4 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 cups water


Place a sauce pot over high heat with  the components for the pickled mushrooms (water, rice vinegar, sugar, salt, lime juice) and bring to a boil.  Meanwhile, place cleaned mushrooms, cilantro, and ginger in a medium sized mixing bowl.  When the mixture is boiling and the sugar has dissolved, pour the hot pickling bring over the mushrooms.  Set aside and let the mushrooms cool to room temperature.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Place your bell pepper in a saute pan or a small baking tray and let it roast in the oven until the skin begins to blister (approx. 20 mins). Place the pepper in a bowl and cover with a towel to cool, removing the skin and seeds once it is cool enough to handle.  Meanwhile, place the sliced carrots, peeled ginger, and grapefruit juice in small  sauce pan and bring to a simmer.  Simmer carrots and ginger until very tender, adding a tablespoon or so of water if the juice begins to evaporate.  Once tender, add the carrots, ginger, and cleaned bell pepper to a blender, reserving the poaching liquid.  With the blender running, add a tablespoon of the poaching liquid at a time to the solids until  a smooth puree forms.  Season with salt to taste then remove puree from the blender and set aside.

Add your sliced onion, butter, and milk to a sauce pot and set over medium heat.  Bring your pot up to a simmer and let cook until the onions become very, very tender (approx. 30 mins).  Strain out the onions, reserving the butter and milk.  Puree the onions in a blender with the whole, fresh green onions. Add the reserved milk and butter gradually until you reach the desired smooth and creamy texture.  Season with salt to taste then remove the soubise and set aside to cool.  

In another small pot, place potatoes, water, and salt over medium heat to simmer.  Poach potatoes until just tender, then remove from the water and let dry on paper towels or a wire rack.  When the potatoes have cooled enough to handle, slice into thin rounds.  Bake the sliced potatoes in the oven at 375 degrees until crisp (approx. 10 mins).  Once done, set aside to cool.

Mix together your seasoning in a shallow bowl.  Roll your trimmed tuna steaks in the seasoning blend, coating them liberally on all sides.  Place a saute pan over high heat and add 1-2 tbsp of vegetable oil.  When the pan is very hot and just starting to smoke, place your tuna steak in and sear for 30-45 seconds on each side.  When all four sides are seared, let the tuna rest for 2-3 minutes before slicing.