Seared Tuna Salad With Ginger Dressing

This simple recipe has a story to it. This seared tuna salad is a dish I ate almost nightly when I managed a restaurant in NYC years ago. It was my go-to meal of choice, not only because I’m a big tuna fan, but because it is incredibly easy (and fast) to make. Most importantly, this dish was an off-menu item that did not tax the already exhausted cooks’ dinner service, while cleaning and pepping were in full swing.

seared tuna

For a restaurant, of any kind, to run smoothly and efficiently, there needs to be a clear divide that works together; the back the house “BOH” (chefs, cooks, precooks, dishwashers, runners) and front-of-the-house staff “FOH” (managers, wait staff, bartenders, hosts). But in reality, in most restaurants, there is typically lots of unspoken tension and animosity between these two divisions.

Having worked in both the BOH and FOH I can tell you most of this “tension, in a predominately male-dominated industry, is simply arrogance. But for the two divisions to work together in harmony, I quickly learned there had to be respect. I experienced a real lack of respect by the FOH while working as a chef. But this experience is what allowed me to go on and be a good manager. My focus was always kindness, equality, and team work. As a result, most of my managerial shifts were without drama. That said, ordering an uncomplicated tuna salad for dinner, when the kitchen was closed, was my olive branch, and a sign of respect to everyone in the BOH.

Although dinner service had concluded, in those days, drinks were served till 3 am. Those late-night hours we considered some of the most lucrative, and a crowded bar was coveted. My seared tuna at midnight became a welcome respite from my shift typically starting at 2:00 pm and ending around 5:00 am. Sounds nuts thinking about it now, but closing up a restaurant and getting it prepped for brunch the next day took at least 2 hours, working incredibly swiftly.

seared tuna

Truthfully, I looked forward to my seared tuna, for a few reasons; (1) it meant the nightly rush had ended, (2) I was finally able to sit down and (3) it was around the time Keanu Reeves came in for his evening nightcap. He was my “dressing on the side“. Keanu lived in the building directly above the restaurant. And being the extremely quiet, slightly anti-social, shy guy that he was (and probably still is), he was a guy who liked routines. And one of these “routines” was coming into the restaurant and sitting at the bar around the same time I was there eating my seared tuna salad.

I’ll be honest, it was often rather difficult to eat my salad in his presence. I was never big on celebrity crushes, but Keanu was (and still is) a big one. I will also tell you, that Hollywood has accurately portrayed his sweet nature, seductive voice, and puppy dog eyes that really do sparkle, and almost dance slightly, when he speaks. Sadly, if asked, Keanu would never in a million years remember these random nights at the bar, or me for that matter, but I will forever think of him whenever I have a seared tuna salad.

About the Author

Andrea Potischman

I am a professionally trained NYC chef turned CA mom and food blogger. I post about real food, with doable ingredient lists that are family friendly.

2 thoughts on "Seared Tuna Salad With Ginger Dressing"

  1. Avatar photo Karen Dearing says:

    Oh wow! We do a lot of seared tuna in our house with different sauces and accompaniments, but this dressing takes the cake!!

    1. Karen, you are the BEST! So happy you all liked this recipe, it really is a keeper.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comment Policy

Simmer + Sauce reserves the right to remove or restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the topic conversation, contain profanity or offensive language, personal attacks, or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Any post found to be in violation of any of these guidelines will be modified or removed without warning. When making a comment on my blog, you grant Simmer + Sauce permission to reproduce your content to our discretion, an example being for a possible endorsement or media kit purposes. If you don’t want your comment to be used for such purposes, please explicitly state this within the body of your comment. If you find evidence of copyright infringement in the comments of, contact me and I will remove that in question promptly.