UNC Health Talk

Green Coriander-Poached Yellowfin Tuna and Cucumber Noodle Salad

Recipe by James Castellow, Executive Chef at  Zest Cafe and Home Art.

Follow these instruction’s to make Chef Castellow’s preserved lemon, pistachio & green coriander-poached yellowfin tuna; cucumber noodle salad in avocado lime dressing with Japanese vegetables and black garlic mustard.


  • 4 5-oz. pieces yellow fin tuna, 1 inch thick
  • 2 medium Japanese cucumbers, cut lengthwise, seeds removed
  • 8 cups loosely-packed kale leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper, julienned
  • 3 scallions, green parts only, sliced lengthwise
  • 10 snow peas, julienned
  • 2 Tbsp. toasted pistachios, crushed


Set sous vide to 108⁰F. Toss tuna in marinade (recipe below) and place in four separate vacuum bags. Add remaining marinade evenly to bags and seal. Place bags in sous vide and cook for 25 minutes. Remove to an ice bath and chill completely.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of water (about one gallon) to a boil. Blanch the kale for 30 seconds and remove to an ice bath. Remove from ice bath, squeeze out all the water and reserve. Next, add the carrots to the boiling water, wait 30 seconds and add the red pepper, snow peas and scallions. Blanch for 30 more seconds and remove to ice bath. Once chilled, strain, pat dry and mix with the Japanese dressing (recipe below) and reserve.

Run the Japanese cucumber through a mandolin to create ‘noodles’. Mix the noodles with the kale and the avocado lime dressing (recipe below) and reserve.

To Serve

Slice one piece of tuna in six pieces and plate. Sprinkle with ¼ of the crushed pistachios. Place 1/4 of noodle salad on plate and top with 1/4 of Japanese veggies. Add a 1/4 of the black garlic mustard. Repeat for all four plates. Serves 4.

Avocado Lime Dressing

  • 2 large tomatillos
  • 1 medium clove garlic
  • 1 scallion
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 jalapeño, seeded
  • 1/2 c. fresh cilantro

Place all ingredients into blender and process until smooth.

Tuna Marinade

  • 2 Tbsp. preserved lemon, minced
  • 1 tsp. green coriander, minced
  • 1 tsp. pink peppercorns, minced
  • 4 tsp. preserved lemon brine
  • 4 tsp. pistachio oil
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt.

Mix all ingredients and reserve.

Japanese Dressing

  • 3 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp. low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. chili garlic sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. cracked black pepper

Whisk all ingredients until smooth.

Black Garlic Mustard

  • 3 Tbsp. mashed black garlic
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. extra hot Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. whole grain mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon verbena syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/8 tsp. cracked black pepper

Mix all ingredients until smooth.