Posted November 1, 2020

Culinary Techniques: Charring, Blistering & Searing

Eat + Drink

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Seared Albacore, Charred Citrus, Quinoa Cake + Aji Amarillo
Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails (Phoenix, AZ) – Chef Sean Currid

Seared TunaIngredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. toasted coriander seed
  • 1 Tbsp. toasted fennel seed
  • 3 oz. seared albacore tuna
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Blackening spice, to taste
  • 1 orange
  • 4 quinoa cakes (recipe below)
  • 2 Tbsp. aji amarillo (recipe below)
  • Pickled mustard seed, to taste (recipe below)
  • Fleur de sel, to taste
  • Micro greens, to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil, to taste


  1. Toast the coriander and fennel seed in a sauté pan until they are fragrant. Grind them in pepper grinder. Set aside.
  2. Season the tuna with the ground coriander, fennel, salt and pepper.
  3. Heat a large sauté pan on medium to high heat. Sear tuna lightly on all sides. Remove from the pan and let rest.
  4. Clean the orange of all pith and slice into ¼-inch-round slices. Sprinkle with the blackening spice and use a blow torch to “char” the orange. Set aside.
  5. Fill a medium sauce pan with frying oil and place over medium-high heat. Fry four quinoa cakes until golden brown. Remove them from the oil and place them on a plate with a paper towel to drain.


  1. Using a spoon, drizzle the plate with aji amarillo sauce.
  2. Place the quinoa cakes onto the plate.
  3. Cut the tuna into 4-5 equal pieces and lean them onto quinoa cakes.
  4. Spoon the pickled mustard seed on to the tuna and quinoa cake, then sprinkle the tuna with fleur de sel on exposed area of tuna. Cut the charred citrus in half and place 3-4 halves on the plate. Garnish with extra virgin olive oil and micro herbs.

Ingredients for the aji amarillo:

  • 1 jar aji chiles, drained
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • 1 quart mayo
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • Salt, to taste

Directions for the aji amarillo: 

  1. Place the aji chiles, lime juice and honey in a Vitamix blender and purée until smooth.
  2. Place the mayo in a mixing bowl. Pour the purée over the mayo and mix until they are incorporated.

Ingredients for the pickled mustard seeds:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup mustard seeds

Directions for the pickled mustard seeds: 

  1. Combine the water, sugar and mustard seeds in a sauce pot. Bring to a simmer.
  2. Turn the heat down to medium and simmer until reduced by half.

Ingredients for the quinoa cakes:

  • 1/2 cup raw quinoa
  • 1 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • ¾ cup water
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions for the quinoa cakes: 

  1. Bring a medium sauce pot of water to a boil. Cook the quinoa, then drain and let cool.
  2. Place the cooked quinoa, greens onions, and chopped parsley in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Place the eggs and egg yolk in a separate bowl and whip them together, until incorporated.
  4. Pour the eggs on top of the quinoa. Add the flour.
  5. Mix until incorporated. Season to taste.
  6. Portion into 4 cakes.

Smoky Eggplant with Garlic-Tahini Yogurt & Pomegranate 
Izy Hossack, @topwithcinnamon

Top with Cinnamon 1

Ingredients for the labneh:

  • 5 1/2 oz. plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1 Tbsp. tahini
  • Salt, to taste

Directions for the labneh:

  1. Place two layers of cheesecloth into a fine mesh strainer set over a medium bowl.
  2. Place the yogurt into the cheesecloth-lined strainer and set in the refrigerator overnight. Discard the liquid (the whey) from the bowl.
  3. Tip the strained yogurt from the cheesecloth into a bowl and mix with the garlic, tahini and a pinch of salt.

Ingredients for the coriander oil:

  • 3/4 oz. (a large handful) of coriander leaves
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions for the coriander oil:

  1. Use an immersion or traditional blender to combine the coriander and olive oil.

Ingredients for the eggplant:

  • 2 medium eggplants
  • 2 Tbsp. pomegranate molasses
  • 3/4 oz. shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
  • A large handful of pomegranate arils (from about ¼ pomegranate), for garnish
  • Coriander leaves, for garnish

Directions for the eggplant:

  1. Place the eggplants over the lighted burner of a gas stove. Turning occasionally using kitchen tongs, allow them to char until completely blackened all over. (Note: For a less smokey flavor, char the eggplant by placing it under a gas broiler and turning it occasionally until completely blackened.)
  2. Remove from the heat and set on a plate. Let cool then peel off the charred skin, leaving the stem intact.
  3. Spoon the labneh into individual bowls (or over a large serving platter) and using the back of a spoon, spread it around to coat the bowl.
  4. Top with slices of peeled eggplants. Drizzle over the pomegranate molasses and coriander oil.
  5. Sprinkle with salt, then garnish with the pistachios, pomegranate arils and reserved coriander leaves.
  6. Serve as a dip with flatbread as an appetizer for 4 people, with brown rice and grilled halloumi cheese as a main course for 2 people.

Chilled Asparagus Bundle with Toasted Macadamia Nuts, Burnt Citrus Vinaigrette and Grapefruit
Vol. 39 (Chicago, IL) – Chef Nick Sutton


  • 1 lb asparagus, snap off the bottom 3″
  • 4 oz macadamia nuts, whole
  • 1  grapefruit
  • 3 lemons
  • 1 leek, cut into 1/4″ strips (no wider than a pencil)
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped


  1. First thing to do is to make the dressing, start off by cutting the lemons in half the short way.
  2. If you have a grill fire it up on high and let preheat for 20 minutes, place the lemons cut side down and leave them for at least 6-8minutes, they should be dark and look burnt. Set aside. If you don’t have a grill then use a sauté pan on the stove and on really high do the same method but cook a little less, (may want to open your windows and turn on the fan).
  3. Once the lemons are done, juice them through a strainer or your hand to catch the seeds. Add the mustard, chopped parsley, 1tsp salt and 1tsp pepper, and whisk together until incorporated. Slowly add the oil check for seasoning and set aside. (this will most likely separate, no need to worry just add a whisk again right before you’re ready to serve.).
  4. Bring a gallon of water to boil with 6 Tbsp. of salt. Have a bowl with ice water next to the water and once the water has come to boil add the asparagus and cook for about 3 minutes it should still have crispness. Remove and set in the ice water until cool.
  5. Next add the leek ribbons and cook these for about 5 minutes, remove and set in ice water
  6. To assemble the asparagus bundles, lay out one of your leek ribbons and place about 3-4 asparagus pieces laying across the leek then simply wrap the leek around the asparagus
  7. For the nuts, lightly chop them and place in a bowl, and add the unsalted melted butter.
  8. Toss with a little salt and pepper, place in a 350° F oven for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
  9. For the grapefruit, cut into segments. Start off by removing the skin with a knife to remove as much of the white part as possible. Then simply cut into 8 pieces or so, (you can sometime buy already segmented citrus check the grocer aisle)


  1. Place the bundle on the plate and simply top with the nuts, grapefruit and drizzle the dressing over and enjoy.
  2. This is a great side dish or could be part of a salad by simply adding the lettuce of your choice with grilled chicken, shrimp or salmon.


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