The Simple Art Of Cooking: Tuna Steaks

Glossy, translucent, bright red tuna steaks, about 1 to 1 1/4-inch thick were lined up neatly over ice at the fishmongers. Tuna should be thick as you are less likely to overcook it. Fresh tuna has superb flesh and can be cooked rare for maximum enjoyment. Beware of tuna that is brownish, as it has oxidized. With my love of onions, especially when caramelized, I decided to prepare coriander-crusted tuna with onion confit. Slowly sauté the onions for 10 to 12 minutes until lightly caramelized and set aside – while the tuna marinates in a simple dressing of lime juice, coriander and olive oil before hitting a hot skillet, (cast-iron works great) and cooks within minutes. How easy is that!

To accompany the dish I thinly sliced Yukon Gold potatoes and layered them in a greased shallow baking dish with sautéed zucchini, topped with tomato slices, seasoned with fresh thyme leaves and baked them in a hot oven. The good news it can be prepared ahead and was a match made in heaven. Ciao Bella’s refreshing blood orange sorbet topped off the meal brilliantly!

As we are surrounded by water and the fantastic availability of fresh fish, my love for fish is boundless.

 

CORIANDER CRUSTED TUNA WITH CARAMELIZED ONION

It takes just minutes to sear tuna to a rosy, rare center. The slow cooked onions can be completely cooked ahead and served at room temperature.

Serves 4

 

For the onions

3 large red onions, peeled and sliced paper thin

2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

1 bunch arugula leaves, washed and spin-dried for presentation

Lemon juice and olive oil to dress arugula

 

For the tuna

1 1/2–2 pounds sushi-quality tuna

Juice of 1 lime

2 tablespoons crushed coriander seeds

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

sea salt to finish, optional

 

1. Slice the onions thin with a chef’s knife or slice in a food processor with the thin blade in place. Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet, and put in the onions. Cook, stirring the onions to coat in the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add thyme leaves and stir into onions. Sauté onions slowly over low heat for 12 to 15 minutes, stirring every once in a while until tender and golden. Onions can be prepared up an hour ahead and served at room temperature.

2. Sprinkle arugula leaves with a little coarse salt and olive oil, if desired, and toss to coat. Divide on four plates and set aside.

3. Cut the tuna into four even-sized slices about 1 to 11/4-inches thick. Mix lime juice in a bowl with the coriander seeds, olive oil and salt and pepper, and turn the tuna slices in the mixture to coat. Marinate for 10 minutes before cooking. Heat the skillet dry, drizzle in a little oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Sear the tuna in the hot skillet about 1 1/2 minutes on each side turning with tongs, basting with marinade. Transfer to a cutting board, let rest for a few minutes and cut each piece into 3 to 4 slices. Divide equally and overlap slices over the arugula. Spoon a clump of room temperature caramelized onion over the tuna, Sprinkle with sea salt to finish, if desired, and serve.

 

POTATO, ZUCCHINI TOMATO GRATIN

Serves 4

 

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 narrow zucchini, about 2/3 pound, rinsed, trimmed and thinly sliced

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced thin

2 Roma tomatoes, rinsed and sliced thin

1 to 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped coarsely

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

 

1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat and put in the zucchini. Sauté the slices until golden on both sides, stirring and transferring to a side dish as they are done. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

2. Arrange sliced potatoes in a buttered gratin dish, season with salt and pepper and layer the zucchini slices over the potatoes. Arrange the tomatoes in one layer and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with thyme leaves, drizzle with remaining oil, and tent with foil, shiny side down. Can be done ahead to this point. When ready to serve place the gratin in a preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes until potatoes are tender.

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