HomeAbout UsWine ReviewsArchivesAdvertiseContact Us


Wine Columns

Wine Reviews

WineReviewOnline on Twitter

Critics Challenge

Distillers Challenge

San Diego Challenge

Sommelier Challenge


Winemaker Challenge

WineReviewOnline on Facebook

WineReviewOnline on Instagram

Jun 9, 2015
Printable Version
Email this Article

WINE WITH…Pan-Seared Tuna with Corn and Avocado Salsa

Among summer’s many blessings is the bounty of farm-fresh foods the season offers. (Ripe full-flavored tomatoes! Sweet succulent corn!!) Warm weather is barely upon us, but we already are anticipating the summery fare we’ll be enjoying over the next few months. One of our go-to dishes will be this refreshing fresh tuna and corn salsa based on a recipe a friend brought back from Australia. Freshness defines the dish: get the best quality tuna you can find and afford, plus the freshest possible corn and tomatoes bursting with ripe summer flavors.

Pan-Seared Tuna with Corn and Avocado Salsa

Serves 2

For best results marinate the tuna for at least 2 hours before cooking it.

For the Tuna:

1/2- 3/4 pound fresh tuna
1/3 cup olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
Salt and pepper

For the Salsa:

1/8 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 cups fresh corn kernels
1 medium tomato cut in bite-size pieces
1 avocado cut in bite-size pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 limes
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced cilantro
Salt and pepper

With a very sharp knife, cut the tuna in slices about 1/2 inch thick (freezing it for about 15 minutes will make the tuna easier to slice). Whisk together the oil, minced garlic and jalapeno pepper, plus a little salt and pepper. Pour this mixture over the tuna, making sure each slice is covered on both sides. Refrigerate for at least two hours and up to six.

To make the salsa, place the cumin seeds in a dry non-stick pan and stir them over high heat until they have colored but not burned (about 3-4 minutes). Set aside. In a bowl, combine the corn, tomatoes and avocado. Whisk together the olive oil, juice from one of the limes, garlic and cilantro. Taste for seasoning, and if the mixture needs more lime juice use half of the second lime (reserving the rest of the lime to garnish the finished dish).

* * *

This is a surprisingly versatile dish when it comes to choosing a wine to accompany it. Whites and rosés will do best, but a red, perhaps slightly chilled, can perform admirably--so long as it does not sport harsh tannins. Wines with noticeable oak flavors are often difficult to pair with food, but they will do just fine here. But then, so too will lighter, fresher ones that show no wood influence. The one thing that whatever wine you select needs to have is a zesty streak of acidity. Regardless of color, the wines we tried that did not pair successfully were ones that felt fat or flabby on our palates.

Connect  on Twitter:   @M_L_Thomas  and  @Wine_With_
More recipes and wine pairings:    Wine With...  


Approx. Price


Arrowood, Sonoma County (California) Chardonnay 2012


A lush, quintessentially California rendition of Chardonnay, sporting ripe summer and tropical fruit flavors and a vanilla-tinged sweetness from oak aging, this wine will give depth and substance to the dish.

L’Ecole No. 41, Columbia Valley (Washington) Semillon 2013


From arguably the best producer of Semillon in the United States, this fine feels fleshy but exhibits exemplary balance. As a result, while somewhat weighty, it manages to taste clean and refreshing. Much like the Chardonnay we are recommending, its heft gave the dish bulk.

Lazy Creek Vineyards, Anderson Valley (California) Pinot Noir “Estate” 2012


A very pretty Pinot Noir, with a soft, silky texture supporting and bright fresh cherry fruit flavor enhanced by hints of sweet spice, this was definitely the best red we tried with the dish. We feared that it (and all the reds) would prove overpowering, but this wine is so gentle on the palate that it never got in the way of the fish or the salsa.

Dr. Loosen, Mosel (Germany) Riesling Kabinett “Bernkasteler Lay” 2013

(Imported by Loosen Bros USA)


Sweet and succulent, but with riveting acidity in its finish, this wine had the opposite effect from the Chardonnay or Semillon. It lightened the dish, providing a lift of sorts, so that the combination seemed delicately enthralling.

Maison Nicolas Perrin, Côteaux d’Ardéche (France) Viognier 2014

(Imported by Vineyard Brands)


Medium-bodied and showing no evidence of oak, this youthful Viognier accented the salsa especially well. It offers peach and yellow plum fruit flavors, with a faintly floral bouquet, and has a firm acidic backbone that keeps all its elements in harmony.