Cured Tuna with Papaya Salad

4 to 6 appetizer servings


Cured Tuna

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1/2 cup kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon crushed white peppercorns

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh dill

  • One 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/2 pound sushi-grade tuna

Papaya Salad

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • 2 ripe but fairly firm papayas—peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts

  • One 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or grated on the fine holes of a grater

  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped

  • 2 scallions, finely chopped

  • 4 mint leaves, finely chopped

  • 4 cilantro leaves, finely chopped

  • 1 teaspoon sambal oelek

  • Juice of 2 limes

  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce


  1. Combine the sugar, salt, peppercorns, dill and the chopped and ground ginger in a small deep marinade bowl; mix well. Add the tuna, and turn it in the mixture to coat; make sure it is completely covered. Alternatively, combine the ingredients in a sturdy, resealable plastic bag and add the tuna, burying it in the mixture. Cover and let stand at cool room temperature for 4 hours, then refrigerate overnight.

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over moderate heat. Add the papaya and pine nuts and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the pine nuts are golden brown and the papaya has softened. Remove from the heat and let cool.

  3. Combine the ginger, garlic, jalapeño, scallions, mint and cilantro in a medium bowl. Add the sambal oelek, then add the remaining 7 tablespoons of olive oil, the lime juice, sherry vinegar and soy sauce; mix well. Stir in the papaya and pine nuts.

  4. Scrape the seasonings from the tuna and slice it very thin. Arrange on plates and serve with the Papaya Salad.

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