Sure you can smoke your own tuna and make a terrific tuna sandwich. But you don't have to. This boldly flavored version gets added dimension from canned smoked trout. Please source your tuna well. Albacore, Skip Jack and Yellowfin are usually sustainably harvested. However, take extra care in choosing Yellowfin as the Atlantic variety has been overfished. —Sippity Sup (Greg Henry)
wasabi paste (or to taste)
sweet pickle relish
Old Bay seasoning
coarse salt and black pepper (to taste)
fresh, raw tuna steaks (about 12 ounces)
freshly squeezed lemon juice
stalk celery, cut into 1/4-inch (or smaller) dice
To make the dressing: Drain the smoked fish of any liquid and place it in a medium mixing bowl. Add wasabi paste, mayonnaise, vinegar, relish, and Old Bay seasoning. Using a fork, mash the mixture into a fairly loose paste. You can adjust consistency if necessary with more vinegar. Taste to adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, keeping in mind that the strong flavors will be less intense after the fish is dressed.
To make the seared tuna: Season the fish well on both sides; set aside. Prepare an ice bath. Heat a cast iron or heavy, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, then lightly coat skillet with cooking spray. Lay tuna in skillet (it should sizzle). Let it sear undisturbed 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side for rare (or to taste). Using a spatula remove the fish from the skillet and immediately submerge it in the ice bath for about one minute. Remove the fish and carefully, but thoroughly dry it on all sides. Once cool, slide a very sharp knife through the fish, cutting it into 3/4-inch chunks. Gently fold the tuna, lemon juice, celery and chives into the bowl with dressing until the fish is well-coated.
To assemble the sandwich: Spoon one fourth of the tuna mixture onto 1 slice of lightly toasted bread, then top with a lettuce leaf (if using), a couple of tomato slices (if using) and another slice of toasted bread. Make 3 more sandwiches in same manner. Serve immediately.
*NOTE: Trader Joe's in Southern California carries smoked trout. If you cannot find it in your area another type of smoked fish, such as mackerel or herring, can be substituted.