GRILLED TUNA WITH CUCUMBER SALSA

WE'RE EATING LESS MEAT THESE DAYS BUT FRESH TUNA, COOKED RARE, TASTES MORE LIKE A STEAK THAN IT DOES FISH.  I'VE SERVED IT WITH HOME-MADE AÏOLI, WITH A PAN SAUCE OF SHALLOTS, WHITE WINE AND CAPERS, WITH A TOMATO COULIS.  WE WERE IN MAINE, BUYING OUR VEGETABLES ONCE A WEEK FROM DAN, A LOCAL FARMER, SO THE KITCHEN WAS STOCKED WITH FABULOUS CUCUMBERS, TOMATOES, SPRING ONIONS AND FRESH HERBS.  SO...SALSA!  THE WAX BEANS YOU SEE ON THE PLATE WE PICKED OURSELVES, ALONG WITH NEW POTATOES THAT LYNN DUG FROM THE DIRT WITH HER OWN HANDS!  THE SECRET TO COOKING TUNA IS TO PUT IT IN THE FREEZER FOR 30 MINUTES BEFORE SEARING IT ON HIGH HEAT IN A CAST IRON PAN.  EXACTLY THE SAME WAY YOU'D COOK A STEAK.

 2 TUNA STEAKS ABOUT 1 1/2 INCHES THICK
 1 tbsp EACH OF FENNEL SEEDS, CORIANDER SEEDS, BLACK PEPPERCORNS
 1 SMOOTH SKINNED CUCUMBER (JAPANESE OR PERSIAN)
 4 CHERRY TOMATOES
 1 MEDIUM TOMATO, PREFERABLY HEIRLOOM
 2 LARGE SHALLOTS
 1 tsp RED WINE VINEGAR
 FRESH PARSLEY AND CILANTRO
 1 HOT CHILI, SEEDED AND FINELY CHOPPED

1

GRIND THE FENNEL, CORIANDER AND PEPPERCORNS IN A MORTAR AND PESTLE WITH A PINCH OF SEA SALT.

PRESS THE MIXTURE INTO BOTH SIDES OF THE TUNA STEAKS, WRAP IN WAX PAPER AND PLACE IN THE FREEZER FOR 30 MINUTES.

TRIM, PEEL AND FINELY DICE THE SHALLOTS AND PLACE IN A BOWL WITH A SPRINKLE OF SALT AND A TSP OF RED WINE VINEGAR.

QUARTER THE CHERRY TOMATOES. CORE AND DICE THE OTHER TOMATO. PLACE IN THE BOWL ON TOP OF THE SHALLOTS.

SLICE THE CUCUMBER LENGTHWISE IN HALF, THEN IN QUARTERS. CUT INTO 1/4 INCH DICE AND PLACE ON TOP OF THE TOMATOES.

ADD ABOUT A 1/3 CUP OF OLIVE OIL.

CHOP A HANDFUL OF PARSLEY LEAVES AND A HANDFUL OF CILANTRO LEAVES. FOLD INTO THE SALSA.

HEAT A CAST IRON PAN ON A HIGH FLAME FOR AT LEAST 3 MINUTES.

PLACE THE TUNA STEAKS IN THE PAN. (NO NEED FOR OIL) COOK OVER HIGH HEAT FOR ABOUT 3 MINUTES, THEN TURN AND COOK ABOUT 3 MINUTES ON THE OTHER SIDE. YOU WILL SEE THE TUNA COOKING, SO YOU CAN DECIDE YOURSELF HOW RARE YOU'D LIKE IT. I LIKE IT REALLY RARE IN THE CENTER.

REMOVE TO A SERVING PLATTER AND ALLOW TO REST FOR 10 MINUTES.

SLICE TUNA ACROSS THE GRAIN WITH A VERY SHARP KNIFE (SUSHI KNIFE IS PERFECT).

SERVE WITH BEANS, SUGAR SNAP PEAS OR BROCCOLINI AND NEW POTATOES. PUT THE SALSA IN A BOWL AND PASS IT AROUND.

SERVES 2-4 DEPENDING ON HOW MUHC TUNA YOU'VE GOT.

Ingredients

 2 TUNA STEAKS ABOUT 1 1/2 INCHES THICK
 1 tbsp EACH OF FENNEL SEEDS, CORIANDER SEEDS, BLACK PEPPERCORNS
 1 SMOOTH SKINNED CUCUMBER (JAPANESE OR PERSIAN)
 4 CHERRY TOMATOES
 1 MEDIUM TOMATO, PREFERABLY HEIRLOOM
 2 LARGE SHALLOTS
 1 tsp RED WINE VINEGAR
 FRESH PARSLEY AND CILANTRO
 1 HOT CHILI, SEEDED AND FINELY CHOPPED

Directions

1

GRIND THE FENNEL, CORIANDER AND PEPPERCORNS IN A MORTAR AND PESTLE WITH A PINCH OF SEA SALT.

PRESS THE MIXTURE INTO BOTH SIDES OF THE TUNA STEAKS, WRAP IN WAX PAPER AND PLACE IN THE FREEZER FOR 30 MINUTES.

TRIM, PEEL AND FINELY DICE THE SHALLOTS AND PLACE IN A BOWL WITH A SPRINKLE OF SALT AND A TSP OF RED WINE VINEGAR.

QUARTER THE CHERRY TOMATOES. CORE AND DICE THE OTHER TOMATO. PLACE IN THE BOWL ON TOP OF THE SHALLOTS.

SLICE THE CUCUMBER LENGTHWISE IN HALF, THEN IN QUARTERS. CUT INTO 1/4 INCH DICE AND PLACE ON TOP OF THE TOMATOES.

ADD ABOUT A 1/3 CUP OF OLIVE OIL.

CHOP A HANDFUL OF PARSLEY LEAVES AND A HANDFUL OF CILANTRO LEAVES. FOLD INTO THE SALSA.

HEAT A CAST IRON PAN ON A HIGH FLAME FOR AT LEAST 3 MINUTES.

PLACE THE TUNA STEAKS IN THE PAN. (NO NEED FOR OIL) COOK OVER HIGH HEAT FOR ABOUT 3 MINUTES, THEN TURN AND COOK ABOUT 3 MINUTES ON THE OTHER SIDE. YOU WILL SEE THE TUNA COOKING, SO YOU CAN DECIDE YOURSELF HOW RARE YOU'D LIKE IT. I LIKE IT REALLY RARE IN THE CENTER.

REMOVE TO A SERVING PLATTER AND ALLOW TO REST FOR 10 MINUTES.

SLICE TUNA ACROSS THE GRAIN WITH A VERY SHARP KNIFE (SUSHI KNIFE IS PERFECT).

SERVE WITH BEANS, SUGAR SNAP PEAS OR BROCCOLINI AND NEW POTATOES. PUT THE SALSA IN A BOWL AND PASS IT AROUND.

SERVES 2-4 DEPENDING ON HOW MUHC TUNA YOU'VE GOT.

GRILLED TUNA WITH CUCUMBER SALSA
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