Fresh Tuna and Butter Lettuce Wraps with Crispy Tortilla Strips, Marinated Red Cabbage, and Shaved Jalapeno

Prep: 25 min
Inactive Prep: 2 hr 20 min
Cook: 15 min
YIELD: 4 appetizer or 2 entree servings
LEVEL: Intermediate


  • 1/2 pound red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
    • 1/2 cup olive oil
      • 1/4 cup yuzu ponzu
      • 8 ounces sushi-grade yellowfin tuna fillet
      • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for frying
      • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
      • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
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      For the marinated red cabbage: Place the cabbage in a non-reactive bowl and sprinkle with the kosher salt. Toss to combine and let it sit for about an hour at room temperature, tossing occasionally.

      Place the orange juice, white wine vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium high heat. Continue to cook until it reduces to 1/2 cup, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

      Rinse and drain the cabbage, then squeeze out as much moisture as possible and return it to the bowl. When the orange juice mixture is cool, pour it over the cabbage and toss to combine. Let it sit for at least one hour at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

      For the basil oil: Bring 2 cups of water to boil in a small saucepan. Submerge the basil leaves in the water for 10 seconds or until completely wilted. Shock under cold running water. Blot the leaves on a paper towel to dry them. Place in a blender with the olive oil and puree for 15 seconds or until completely pureed. Reserve oil in a squeeze bottle. Will keep for 1 week refrigerated.

      For the lettuce wraps: Pour 1/4 cup of the yuzu ponzu onto a large dinner plate. Carefully lay the slices of tuna in the sauce. Marinate for 1 minute and turn over.

      In a 12-inch saute pan, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat. Season the tuna on all sides with the 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Quickly sear the tuna on all sides, 10 to 15 seconds per side for rare. When cool enough to handle, slice the tuna into 1 1/4-inch thick slices (you should end up with about 16 slices). Set aside until ready to use.

      Wipe the saute pan clean with a paper towel. Add oil to a depth of 1/2 to 1 inch and heat over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, cook the tortilla strips in batches until golden brown, 30 to 45 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Immediately season each batch with a pinch of salt. Set aside until ready to use.

      Divide the lettuce leaves into four portions and arrange on four serving plates. Drain 3/4 cup of the marinated red cabbage. (Reserve the remainder for another use.) Place a small amount of the crispy tortilla strips in the center of each leaf and place 1 to 2 tablespoons of the marinated red cabbage on top. Place a slice of tuna over the cabbage, sprinkling each with a pinch of salt, and place a dot of Sriracha on the tuna. Follow with the jalapeno slices and drizzle with the basil oil, as desired.

      Serve immediately.

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