TriathlEats: A Healthy Ahi Tuna Dish

Chicago-based chef and restaurateur Gabriel Viti shares a recipe for seared ahi tuna with braised daikon and sesame soy vinaigrette.

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Chicago-based chef and restaurateur Gabriel Viti shares a flavorful, healthy ahi tuna dish. 

Seared Ahi Tuna with Braised Daikon and Sesame Soy Vinaigrette

Chef-triathlete Gabriel Viti likes this flavorful dish because of its high nutritional content and simple ingredients. “Triathletes are always watching what they’re eating,” he says. “This dish is super clean, has great flavor and is just fabulous.”

12 oz ahi tuna loin (sushi grade, cleaned)
1 daikon radish, sliced paper-thin (30 slices)
1 fresh fennel (bulb), sliced paper-thin
6 fresh chives, finely chopped
1 T sesame seeds
Extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chicken stock
3 T soy sauce

For soy vinaigrette:
6 oz soy sauce
5 oz sesame oil
2 oz rice wine vinegar
1 oz diced shallot
1 oz extra virgin olive oil
1 pinch of white pepper

Coat tuna loin with sesame seeds and sear in olive oil at high heat. Reserve until cool. Combine chicken stock and soy sauce in saucepan over medium heat. Add daikon radish. Cook radish until soft. Remove from heat and let cool in cooking liquid. Assemble vinaigrette by whisking all ingredients together. Slice reserved tuna into 30 slices—each should be approximately 1/8-inch thick. Place five slices of braised radish on each plate. Place one slice of tuna on each slice of radish. Divide fennel into 6 even portions and neatly pile in the center of each plate. Using a teaspoon, gently drizzle vinaigrette over each slice of tuna and all of the fennel. Garnish with chives and serve immediately. Serves 6 people.

Meet the Chef
Having grown up with a grandfather who owned a large steakhouse in Tempe, Ariz., chef Viti was always intrigued by the restaurant business. At 21, after graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in New York City, Viti crossed the Atlantic to visit family in Italy and ended up living in Europe for six years.

There he trained under top chefs—such as Joël Robuchon and Frédy Girardet—at some of the best restaurants in the world before returning to his native Chicago 18 years ago to open Gabriel’s, a high-end French and Italian restaurant with a robust wine cellar, in the suburb of Highwood. Ten years later, he opened the casual Miramar Bistro, followed by music club Gabe’s Backstage Lounge, both in Highwood.

In the years since, Viti, who doesn’t seem to do anything halfway, was drawn to triathlon after hearing about it from his chiropractor. His first was the Chicago Tri, which he raced two days before his 40th birthday. He then completed Ironman Brasil in 2007, a marathon on the Great Wall of China in 2008 and Ironman Florida in 2009 before focusing on other pursuits, such as climbing the seven summits (the tallest peak on all seven continents). He returned from the final peak, in Antarctica, last year. He’s now turning back to triathlon, planning to race Chicago again as well as perhaps a half- or full Ironman.

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