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Chili Crusted Tuna

Posted: Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013

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Chef Troy Gagliardo

CChef Troy Gagliardo is a self-taught chef that has parlayed his years of kitchen experience into many other culinary ventures. Including a proprietary spice line, cook books, commercials, food styling, cooking/restaurant columns, endorsements, cooking classes, and live appearances. Troy has been voted as one of the Charlotte’s Top Five Chefs two years in a row by Creative Loafing readers. Chef Troy has appeared in two national commercials with NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. and joined him for a media tour day just days before Dale Jr. won his second Daytona 500 to start the 2014 NASCAR season. For the past seven years, Chef Troy has appeared each week on Charlotte's morning show WCCB News Rising, cooking his way through "Troy’s Everyday Eats". Filmed live each week at the WCCB Charlotte studios, Chef Troy teaches his unique style of food with a simple Warren publishing recently signed Chef Troy to publish his new cookbook entitled Pseudo Southern-a playful twist on the art of southern cooking, which has been endorsed by Top Chef Alum and best-selling author Fabio Viviani and also star of “A Chef’s Life” Vivian Howard. Fabio said of Pseudo Southern, "Southern food is my second home. It's as close to my heart like Italy is, and that is why I love Troy's recipes so much. They remind me of the childhood I would have had if I was born in the south”. Vivian had this to say, “Troy’s take on southern food is just left of center, fun, and refreshing. His recipes are approachable that even the most jaded cook will be intrigued to try.” Chef Troy is also a free-lance food writer for the Charlotte Observer and Examiner.com and lives in Mooresville, NC with his wife Tracy, of twenty-three years, and their two daughters, Ally and Isabella. He can be seen every Tuesday morning from 7-9 am on WCCB News Rising.

If you are one of those that have made the resolution to eat better this year you are already finding it hard to cook simply, easy to do healthy meals at home, this one is for you.

Simple seared tuna taken to the next level with a dried chili, cumin and peppercorn crust may sound a little intimidating but rest assured that this just may be the easiest meal you ever prepare.

This all in one meal is plated in layers with a tangy, crunchy slaw topped with meaty slices of seared tuna and crispy fried potatoes for a killer texture. No worries about the fried part of this dish; it is only a garnish but it surely will satisfy any craving you may have for the starch that you are probably missing out on.

Give this one a try and put your own twist on it using different flavor combinations to your liking.

Chili Crusted Tuna with Asian Slaw and Crispy Taters


• 2 Each-4-6 Ounce-Yellow Fin/Ahi Tuna Steaks-cut each steak into two pieces
• To Taste-Kosher Salt
• 1 Each-Dried Ancho Chili
• 1 Tablespoon-Black Peppercorns
• 1 Tablespoon-Cumin Seed
• To Drizzle-Olive Oil
• 1 Each-Russet/Baking Potato-peeled, cut into thin strips, soak in cold water
• To Flash Fry-Canola Oil


• 2 Cups-Red Cabbage-thin sliced
• 2 Cups-Green Cabbage-thin sliced
• ½ Cup-Carrot-shredded/thin sliced
• 1 Tablespoon-Dijon Mustard
• 1 Each-Lime-juice of
• 1 Tablespoon-Soy Sauce
• 2 Tablespoons-Ginger-peeled, small dice
• 2 Cloves-Garlic-peeled
• 2 Tablespoons-Cilantro-leaves only
• To Taste-Kosher Salt/Black Pepper
• 1/4 Cup-Canola Oil Directions

1. Place both cabbages and carrot in a bowl, toss to combine and place in fridge.
2. In a blender combine mustard, lime, soy, ginger, garlic, cilantro and salt and pepper.
3. With blender still running slowly add the canola oil until all has been combined, place in fridge.
4. In a sauté pan over medium heat warm pepper until pliable, about minute per side.
5. Remove from pan, remove stem/seeds and rough chop.
6. In same pan toast peppercorns/cumin seeds until fragrant, about 1 minute and remove from heat.
7. Place seeds in a coffee/spice grinder and pulse to a rough grind, remove and place in a shallow bowl.
8. Add chopped/toasted ancho pepper to grinder and pulse to a rough grind, place in bowl with spices.
9. Pat tuna dry and season with salt and pepper.
10. Brush tuna with olive oil on both sides and dredge in pepper/spice grind.
11. Preheat canola oil to fry potato strips to 350 degrees.
12. Heat an iron skillet/sauté pan to medium high heat and add tuna.
13. Sear on both sides about one minute for rare or to desired temperature.
14. Remove and let rest while preparing potatoes.
15. Remove potatoes from water, drain and pat dry slightly.
16. Place in fryer, cook until slightly golden, drain on paper towel lined plate and season with salt and pepper.
17. Toss cabbage mixture with a little of the dressing and place a portion on individual plates.
18. Slice tuna, place on slaw, top with crispy potatoes, drizzle on a little more dressing and serve.

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