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Tuna and Avocado Salad with Lemongrass and Fresh Mint

Source: The New American Cooking
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  Serves 4 as a main course or 6 as an appetizer salad
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped (about 2 teaspoons)
2 shallots, coarsely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
3/4 tablespoon coarsely chopped gingerroot
2 tablespoons roasted peanuts
5 teaspoons fish sauce
11/2 tablespoons white or rice vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
8 ounces sushi-grade fresh tuna, preferably top-quality loin
2 semiripe avocados, firm enough to be sliced
1 tablespoon finely minced lemongrass
1 tablespoon finely minced shallot
2 teaspoons thinly sliced mint leaves
2 thinly sliced Thai basil
2 handfuls of baby greens like mache or mesclun
2 tomatoes, cut into 12 slices for garnish
To make the sauce, dry-toast the garlic, shallots, and ginger in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, until softened and lightly browned, 3-4 minutes. Put them in a spice grinder or small food processor and process, pulsing on and off, until well chopped. Then added the peanuts and chop until just crunchy.

Stir the peanut mixture together with the fish sauce, white or rice vinegar, lime juice, sugar, salt, black pepper, and dried red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside.

Just before serving, cut the tuna into 3/4-inch cubes and put in a large bowl. Halve the avocados lengthwise and remove the pits. Cut into cubes the same size as the tuna. Gently toss the tuna and avocado cubes with the lemongrass, shallots, mint, basil, and 1/4 cup of the sauce.

Spread the greens on a platter and spoon the tuna onto it. Garnish with the tomatoes and serve with the remaining sauce on the side.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.. All rights reserved.
Date Added: 01/01/2008
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