Orange Fennel Seared Tuna Salad
- 1 tablespoon fennel seed
- 1 whole star anise
- 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- 4 teaspoons dried orange peel
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- Pinch of ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 1/4 pounds tuna steak
- Juice of 1 orange
- 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 head red-leaf lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
- 1 cucumber, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
- 1/2 medium red onion, cut into thin moons
- 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 3 ounces feta cheese, for garnish
Place the fennel, anise, and peppercorns in a dry skillet. Place over medium heat, moving skillet to keep seeds from burning, until seeds are aromatic, about 3 minutes. Transfer seeds and orange peel to a spice grinder; cool slightly. Pulse until finely chopped but not powdery. Transfer to a bowl; stir in the ginger, cloves, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, and sugar. Set aside.
Place tuna in a glass baking dish, and sprinkle each side with 1 1/2 tablespoons spice mixture. Pat with hands to make it stick. Cover with plastic, refrigerate, and let marinate for 20 minutes.
Make dressing: Whisk the orange juice and vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk in the pepper and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Slowly whisk in 2 tablespoons oil until combined. Set dressing aside.
Heat remaining teaspoon oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add reserved tuna; cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip; cook until bottom is golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Tuna should be well browned and crisp on outside, rare to medium on the inside.
Place lettuce, cucumber, onion, and tomatoes on a platter. Slice the tuna, and arrange on greens. Drizzle with dressing, and garnish with feta. Serve.