Here are flavors of summer, without the grill. Each task in the recipe is brief.
If you have helping hands in the kitchen, assign duties of zesting, searing, cutting the honeydew, jicama and jalapeño into matchsticks, cooking the tortillas and dressing the greens, you’ll be done in less than 30 minutes.
Adapted from Dos Caminos Tacos: 100 Recipes for Everyone’s Favorite Mexican Street Food, by Ivy Stark with Joanna Pruess (Countryman Press, 2014).
Tuna Tacos With Lime Aioli and Honeydew-Jicama Slaw
For the tacos and aioli:
1 jalapeño pepper
1 cup low-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup packed watercress
8 or 16 corn tortillas
1 (8-ounce) fresh tuna fillet, preferably sushi grade
For the slaw:
1/4 honeydew melon
1 medium jicama
2 jalapeño peppers
1 to 2 teaspoons agave nectar
For the tacos and aioli: Heat a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet on high heat. Place the jalapeño in the pan, turning it to char thoroughly on all sides. Transfer to a cutting board to cool; keep the skillet over high heat.
Meanwhile, zest the lime into a bowl, then squeeze the juice into the bowl. Whisk in the mayonnaise.
Peel and seed the jalapeño once it’s cool enough to handle, then mince the flesh; stir it into to the lime-mayo mixture.
Whisk together the olive oil and vinegar in a mixing bowl. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Discard any thick stems of the watercress, then drop the greens into the oil-vinegar dressing and toss lightly to coat.
Cook or heat each tortilla until browned in spots and fragrant, placing 2 (or 4, if you’re doubling up) on each plate.
Cut the tuna into 4 equal portions. Season lightly with salt and pepper on all sides.
Brush the hot skillet with canola oil. Wait 15 seconds, then place the tuna pieces in the skillet. Cook for only 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side, so the outsides have whitened/seared but the interior is still rare. Transfer to a cutting board to rest.
For the slaw: Cut away and discard the rind of the honeydew. Cut the flesh into thin matchsticks; put in a bowl. Peel the jicama and cut the flesh into thin matchsticks and add to the bowl. Stem and seed the jalapeños, then cut into thin matchsticks and add to the bowl.
Zest the lemon over the bowl, then drizzle the agave nectar over the mixture. Toss gently to incorporate.
Cut each piece of seared, rested tuna into thin slices. Spoon some of the dressed watercress on each tortilla. Lay slices of the tuna on the greens.
Pile some of the slaw on top, then dress with a dollop of the lime aioli. Serve right away. Makes 4 servings (makes 8 tacos).