My relationship with my dad has come a long way. I feel like he respects who I am, and how I live my life, even if he doesn’t always agree with my decisions. We don’t talk on the phone that often, but when we do, we make sure to always say, “I love you” before hanging up. However, as a kid, you could not have convinced me that I would one day have a loving relationship with my dad. Back then, he was a very different person. I just don’t think he wanted to be married, and he most definitely did not want to be strapped with two children in his mid-twenties, let alone with two girls. He was pretty mean and angry, and I was basically scared of him a lot of the time. Looking back now as an adult, I have empathy for him as a young parent who didn’t have the tools to be a good father.
Things started to slowly shift when I was in my teens. I’m not sure what changed for him, but I could tell he was working on becoming a better man, and parent. I remember him blowing up at me for something I did, and then later coming upstairs to my room and apologizing. There was so much sadness in his eyes. He looked at me and said something along the lines of how he had reacted was the complete opposite of how he should have reacted, and that he would try to do better next time. Hearing my dad say that shifted something in the universe for me that day. It was one of the first times I comprehended that adults, people, could change, and for the better. We aren’t born a certain way, predestined for a specific path. Rather, we decide who we want to be.
I’ve often wondered if my dad carries around any guilt or shame about the kind of dad he was to my sister and I growing up. A few summers ago I went home for a visit. My dad and I went out for an early morning walk, and we started talking about how things were when I was a kid. I told him that the only way for my brain to reconcile the man he was back then with the man he is today is to think of them as two completely different people. It’s like at some point, he shed the skin of my younger dad, and morphed into my older dad–one who is patient, kind, affectionate, and considerate. I have so much love for my dad. And although we are a lot alike in many ways, we see the world differently. After all that we have been through, it feels so good to think of my dad, and smile.
I’m pretty sure this was the first time I’ve ever made a dish using fresh tuna. I was shocked at how easy it was. I mean, it should be easy, because it’s fish, but making a tuna dish always seemed so intimidating to me. If you enjoy fresh tuna and have never attempted a dish in your own kitchen, start with this one. It’s super simple and very tasty.
Pan-Seared Tuna Steaks with Ginger Vinaigrette
Adapted from Food and Wine
5 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
5 Tbsp. sake
2-1/2 Tbsp. mirin
3 Tbsp. minced shallot
1/2 Tbsp. finely grated, peeled fresh ginger
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 bunch of Broccolini, trimmed
Two 1-inch-thick yellowfin tuna steaks
2 tsp. toasted white sesame seeds
1. In a small saucepan, simmer the soy sauce, sake, mirin and shallot until the liquid is slightly reduced, 3 minutes. Remove from the heat: stir in the ginger. Slowly whisk in 1/4 cup of the oil. Season with salt and pepper.
2. In a steamer basket set in a large saucepan of simmering water, steam the Broccolini until tender, about 6 minutes. Transfer to plates.
3. Meanwhile, in a large non-stick skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Season the tuna with salt and pepper. Sear over high heat until golden brown but still rare within, about 30 seconds per side.
4. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Slice against the grain and transfer to the plates. Drizzle with some of the vinaigrette and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.
5. Serve with the remaining vinaigrette.