Seared Tuna Tortilla Sandwich Recipe | Entree Recipes | PBS Food

Seared Tuna Tortilla Sandwich

This sandwich by Chef Vincent Guerithault bypasses bland tuna in a can for fresh tuna steaks, which are layered with tortillas—the bread of the Southwest—and a delicious cilantro pesto.


Yield: 4 servings



  • For the Cilantro Pesto:
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pinon nuts (substitute pine nuts)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • For the Tuna:
  • 8 ounces highest-grade ahi tuna (about 1 inch thick)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 corn tortillas, 6 inches in diameter, cut into halves and fried until light brown and crisp
  • 2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 20 leaves of arugula salt to taste


  1. For the Pesto: Put all the ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth, about 1 minute. Set aside.
  2. Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Coat the tuna with the pepper. When the pan is very hot, add the tuna and sear until the pepper is crusty and aromatic, about 1 minute per side. The tuna should still be rare in the center. Slice into very thin strips.
  3. Assembly: Place a tortilla half on each of 4 plates. Put a few slices of seared tuna on each tortilla.
  4. Arrange a slice of tomato, a slice of avocado, and a few arugula leaves on top of the tortilla; drizzle with a teaspoon of cilantro pesto.
  5. Repeat the layers and drizzle more cilantro pesto on top.
  6. Drizzle more cilantro pesto on the plates around the tortilla stacks. Serve immediately.


For this sandwich, the tuna is briefly seared and just rare in the center, so buy the best-grade tuna you can find. If you prefer, substitute lobster, sea scallops, or chicken for the tuna.
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