“No, I didn’t make Clearly Delicious after watching the movie Julie and Julia” I find myself answering to the um-teenth person. When people hear about Food Bloggers, their minds wander to the world of Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, and best-selling books and blockbusters in which food blogging is glamorized for all of its cutting edge cooking and internet appeal.
But, I can’t lie, I love, absolutely love, this movie. It’s smart, funny, has two of my favorite actresses in it, and when it comes to food blogging…okay, they do get it kind of right. Plus, where would food blogging be today if we didn’t have middle-aged Francophile enthusiasts like Julia Childs to teach us that cooking is more than just slaving in the kitchen, but finding pleasure in it as well?
Pictured: photo from Julie and Julia (2009). I love this picture’s commentary on the home cook and being a “real cook.”
Today’s recipe for an “UnCobb Salad w/Seared Tuna, Avocado, Mango, Dried Canberries, & Pecans” (Phew!) pays an homage to the most popular movie about food blogging to date. In the scene where food blogger Julie Powell has her ritual “Cobb Lunch” with friends, no Cobb Salad is made exactly the same. As the saying goes, there is no such thing as the perfect Cobb Salad, it’s always changing and always can be edited:
“I’ll have a Cobb Salad, no Beets.”
“I’ll have a Cobb Salad, no Bacon.”
“I’ll have a Cobb Salad, no Eggs.”
If such famous American restaurant dishes can be adjusted to every restaurant-goers personal tastes, then what about the home cook, food blogger, and fruit fanatic? Yes, “I will have a Cobb Salad, no Beets, no Eggs, no Bacon, and no Chicken. I will have a Cobb Salad in the most unlikely of ways, the Clearly Delicious way, with dried and fresh fruits, warm southern nuts, and a fresh from the Gulf Seared Yellowfin Tuna.”
Now if that’s not an UnCobb Salad, I don’t know what is.
UnCobb Salad w/Seared Tuna, Avocado, Mango, Dried Cranberries, & Pecans
This recipe is a take on a traditional Cobb Salad (the ones arranged neatly with eggs, cheese, and ham), but only in the sense that it separates all of the topping ingredients and does not toss it. I have adapted my version of an “UnCobb” Salad from Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes. You can find her version of an UnCobb Salad w/Chicken, Mango, Craisins, & Tart Apple here.
* Fresh Spinach or Romaine Lettuce (cut into strips)
* Seared Tuna brushed with 1 tablespoon Olive Oil & Salt & Pepper, to taste
* 1/2 fresh Mango, cut in half and cubed
* 1/2 Avocado, cored and cut into cubes
* 1/4 cup Dried Cranberries (“Craisins”)
* 1/4 cup Pecans (can substitute Walnuts or Almonds)
* Infused Balsamic Vinegar for dressing (I used Fioré’s Vanilla Infused Balsam)
1.) Prep ingredients: wash already cut lettuce or spinach and plate. Measure out 1/4 cup dried cranberries and 1/4 cup pecans. Plate on top of spinach/lettuce bed so that the ingredients sit separately.
2.) Using a sharp pairing knife, cut your avocado in half and remove the seed. Trace around the edges of the avocado where the fatty fruit meets the skin with the tip of your knife to de-lodge the fatty fruit from the green skin. Make sure to cut all the way down to the bottom of the avocado so that when you go to remove the green from its shell, the fruit comes out easily. Be careful with this step not to use too much pressure as your knife could easily pierce the fruit’s skin and risk cutting you. Some cooks choose to “peel” their avocado with a sharp peeler, but for presentation and chopping purposes, this method works great, just be careful!
3.) Now, you can cut the avocado into strips and cube. Plate on top of lettuce bed.
4.) Cut the Mango: mangoes are cut similarly to avocados, but with one catch: you cannot remove the seed (known as a “hairy pit”). Instead, prop your mango straight up and cut down the side to remove one of its “cheeks.” You’ll want to cut the cheek in the same way you cut the avocado: trace the sides where the fruit meets the skin with a sharp pairing knife and go all the way down and around. However, instead of immediately removing the fruit from the skin, cube the fruit inside the skin’s shell. Now, grab both sides of the mango’s skin and “pop up” the fruit. For a video on how to do this step, see How to cut an Avocado or Mango video. Remove fruit from skin and plate mango on lettuce bed separately from other ingredients.
5.) Sear 1/2 lb tuna that has been brushed in olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. This step should be done last so that the tuna is warm to the plate and not cold like the other ingredients. Warm a small skillet to medium-high (more high than medium) and sear the tuna on each side from 2-3 minutes. I like my tuna cooked more on the rare side (as photographed), but others may wish the tuna to have less pink and be more done. Cook tuna based on doneness preference.
6.) Cut tuna into strips and plate on lettuce bed as the last ingredient. Dress with balsamic vinaigrette or other dressing. Enjoy! Makes 1 serving.
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Written by: Helana Brigman