John and I first met at a Mardi Gras parade, and hung out for the next 12 hours, spanning another parade, a house party, a front-yard party, and eventually closing down the old college favorite, The Boot.
I liked him (a lot) immediately, but the next day I had to fly back "home" to Dallas. To get more time with him, I asked him to drive me to the airport, which he obliged. I was nervous. He was not.
"What are you in such a hurry to get back for?" (I didn't know.)
"What does Dallas have that New Orleans doesn't?" (I did know. Nothing.)
"Why don't we pull off right here and turn around, head back Uptown, drop by Whole Foods, and pick up some Ahi tuna and a bottle of wine? I'll make a nice dinner and we can walk to the Bulldog and surprise the shit out of all of your friends that you just said goodbye to."
During Mardi Gras, everyone says "Extend your plane ticket!" but its best to ignore this, like when someone suggests doing shots of Jaeger at the END of the night. But it was the specificity of his request--Ahi tuna, Bulldog...that made me give in.
So, his first indication that he was serious (well, more serious than a shot of Jaeger) was making what remains to be the best tuna I've ever had. We've lived together for 16 months and have probably made this as many times.
Two Ahi tuna filets (Trader Joes has some really great frozen ones, very inexpensive)
Wasabi powder (this stuff is expensive but it will last a while. Find it at Penzey's or Whole Foods)
Soy sauce (low sodium)
Sugar snap peas or snow peas
Optional: carrots, sliced diagonally into 1/4 inch coins
The key is HOT, hot skillets. We use an iron skillet that we allow to heat up for 5-10 min. While heating, grind pepper over tuna steaks and press in with back of a spoon.
When iron skillet is hot, add a bit (<1 tsp) of sesame oil. Allow it to heat but not smoke, and then add tuna. Allow tuna to cook about 4 min per side, flipping once.
While tuna cooks, heat up a wok. Over high heat, use a bit of sesame oil, again, and throw in carrots if you are using them, and a few minutes later, pea pods. Stir fry till browned in places, and drizzle with a touch of soy sauce before removing from heat.
Make sauce by whisking soy sauce into wasabi powder, to form a slurry paste, adding soy sauce a tablespoon at a time. We use about a 2:1 ratio of sauce to powder so the result is thick and syrupy, and very tangy. Plate and drizzle sauce over steaks.