Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tuna Steaks with Salsa Verde


In an extraordinary boon to our local eating, a friend of ours caught a 122 kilogram tuna last weekend! So we have been the grateful recipients of some spectacularly fresh fish.

Tuna has very dense flesh – it's more like meat than fish. It goes well with strong flavours and grills beautifully.

So, because I'm a cooking coward, we didn't make sashimi. Instead, I seared the tuna on a cast iron grill pan and served it with Salsa Verde. The interior of the tuna was ruby red, softening out to a lighter pink near the surface. The grill lines gave the exterior a lovely texture and taste, and the whole just melted in my mouth.

It was so good, even my kids ate it. Or was it the Salsa Verde that they liked? Possibly - they slathered Salsa Verde everywhere, even over the easy peasy potato wedges that I served on the side.

Tuna Steaks with Salsa Verde

- one or two tuna steaks, about an inch thick (ask the fishmonger about the provenance of the fish, or make a fishing friend. You can also download a sustainable seafood guide here.)
- large bunch of flat-leaf parsley
- some mint
- 2 or 3 cornichons
- 1 tbs capers
- 6 to 8 anchovies
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic
- the juice of a lemon (red wine vinegar is traditional, but it's lovely with lemon and lemons are local)
- olive oil
- extra lemon, to serve

Heat the griddle pan.

While it is heating, throw the ingredients for Salsa Verde into a food processor. Add a slosh of olive oil and whizz until combined – a little nubble is fine. Taste and adjust for sharpness, and season. (Of course, you can always chop the herbs, cornichons, capers, anchovies and garlic by hand, then stir in the mustard, lemon and olive oil.)

Rub the tuna with salt and oil, and place on the very hot grill. Leave for four minutes.

Flip the tuna carefully and cook on the other side for 2 minutes if you like it very rare (recommended), 3 minutes if you like just a thread of pinkness (still pretty good), and 4 minutes if you want it to taste like canned tuna (to which I say, what's the point?).

Serve immediately with the Salsa Verde and some extra lemon wedges on the side.

(Backyard: parsley, mint, lemon. Local: tuna, garlic. Non-local: cornichons, capers, anchovies, Dijon, salt.)

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