Seared Ahi with Soy Reduction

Recipe by Vincenzo Lo Verso, Executive Chef & Owner, Osteria Panevino

Osteria Panevino

722 Fifth Avenue, Downtown San Diego

I have been cooking all my life since I lived in Italy. I cooked for a big restaurant there and we did a lot of weddings. I also served in the Army and was a cook. Back then, everyone had to serve in the Italian army. It wasn’t like the American army. They didn’t pay us. I was in Naples for three months and served for a year in Bologna, where I worked in a hotel. Bologna is famous for its fresh pasta, and I learned a lot that year.

I moved to the United States when I was 24. I lived in New Jersey and back then, I didn’t speak English. One night, a customer, who ate in the restaurant almost every night and spoke Italian, told me that he wanted to open a restaurant and he wanted me to be his chef. So, six months after I came to America, I had my own restaurant.

I eventually left New Jersey for San Diego. It’s so beautiful here, like paradise. It is like being in Sicily. I grew up in Palermo and the climate is much like California.

I am always a cook, now. I’m always in the kitchen. I love to barbeque and use my wood-fire oven to make pizzas. We make roast pork, homemade pasta, whatever. My kids love pasta. We do a lot of broccoli rabe and salads in the summer. And I love fish any time of year. Over winter, I serve fish over mashed potatoes and in the summer it goes so well with steamed broccoli or spinach sautéed in olive oil and garlic.


  • 1 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 apple, cut in four pieces
  • 1 orange, cut in four pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 - 8 oz center cuts ahi tuna loin
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sautéed spring vegetables, broccoli rabe, or arugula


In a medium saucepan add soy sauce, sugar, apple, and orange. Heat to a boil and reduce until the mixture forms a syrup. Remove from the heat and set aside. If possible leave the reduction overnight for more flavor and then pour through a strainer into a bowl and reserve.

Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add oil. While the oil heats, generously season the ahi cuts with cayenne, pepper, and salt. Pan-sear the ahi for two minutes each side and then remove ahi from heat. Drizzle with the soy reduction and serve with steamed or sautéed vegetables.

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I give up. Where is Osteria Panevino? Just in case someone else wants to go there.

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