The Secret Ingredient (Avocado): Chunky Charred Fresh Tuna and Avocado Salsa with Corn Chips

RECIPE: Chunky Charred Fresh Tuna and Avocado Salsa with Corn Chips

Chunky Charred Fresh Tuna and Avocado Salsa

Tuna and avocado are a pretty handsome pair.  Not quite so obvious as peanut butter and jelly, but sometimes the best matches aren’t the most obvious.  When you stop to think of it, as I just did, tuna and avocado are everywhere.  Tuna-avocado rolls are a sushi staple.  My mom used mashed avocado in her tuna salad instead of mayonnaise.  And sliced avocado usually shows up as a garnish on tuna burgers.

This dish was a huge hit: a kind of blurring of salsa and tartare.  I rub a tuna steak in olive oil and smoky, spicy herbs, and char it just to get a little bit of the grilled flavor.  Then, I dice it up, along with diced avocado, tomato, jalapeno, green onion, and cilantro.  A drenching of citrus juice, and a swig of olive oil, and nothing so delicious has even been scooped up on a corn chip before.  You can definitely serve this as an appetizer to share, but it also makes a phenomenal lunch.

Excerpted from my weekly column The Secret Ingredient on Serious Eats.

Chunky Charred Fresh Tuna and Avocado Salsa with Corn Chips
serves 4 as something to munch on


  • 1 1/2 to 2/3-pound tuna steak

  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon

  • Kosher salt

  • 1 1/2 Hass avocadoes, diced

  • 6 small or 4 large vine-ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced

  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced on an angle

  • 1/2 to 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced

  • 3 tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro

  • The juice of 1 lime

  • The juice of 1/2 lemon

  • Tortilla chips, for serving


Preheat an indoor or outdoor grill to the highest heat.  Season all sides of the tuna with the spices and salt.  Drizzle with 1 teaspoon of olive oil, and rub the oil and spices all over the tuna.  Sear on the grill 1 minute on each side.  Set aside to rest.

Dice or slice all the vegetables and herbs for the salsa and put them in a bowl.  Add the lime juice, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and season well with salt.  Dice the seared tuna the same size as the avocado and tomatoes, and add.  Taste the salsa…it should be well salted and a bit acidic.  Add the juice of up to 1/2 lemon to achieve the desired acidity.  Serve with a ton of tortilla chips.

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Appetizers & Hors D’Oeuvres, Easy, Eat, For a Crowd, Recipes, Series, The Secret Ingredient

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