Tag Archives: Tuna

Vitello tonnato

This is a lovely dish even if it looks reminiscent of something you may have deposited in a back street after a big night on the town. Besides, there are plenty of things in life that look awful but taste great and I urge you to give this a go – it really is beautiful, and it is (at least in its original form) an Italian classic.

Vitello Tonnato (DATW style)

The classic recipe requires you to used veal poached in a herby broth as the basis for this dish, but I used seared beef carpaccio instead which I think works really well.

To make the sauce, you need to put the following in a blender and give it a good whizz – a tin of really good tuna in oil and a tin of anchovies in oil (after having drained the oil), two hard boiled egg yolks, a tablespoon of capers, the juice of a lemon and a good glug of good olive oil. Once blended, season with black pepper and salt (carefully – you don’t need much salt).

For the beef, use my carpaccio recipe – take a piece of really good beef fillet and roll it in a dry rub of herbs and spices that you’ve pounded with a pestle and mortar. My favourites are finely chopped thyme and rosemary with cumin and corainder seeds and lots of maldon sea salt and black pepper (Note – whenever I refer to salt in here, just assume it’s maldon sea salt…). Then sear the beef all over in a very hot frying pan with a little oil and leave it rest for ten minutes. If there are any lovely juices at this point, add them to the sauce.

Now take the beef and slice it thinly onto a plate, covering the surface (and again adding any juices to the sauce). Spoon over the tuna sauce and sprinkle over a little chopped parsley and capers. As always, serve with really good bread and a bottle of crisp white wine or a bottle of Bandol rose if the sun is shining…

I really mean it this time…

I’ve tried three times to get back into doing this blog and this time I’m going to persevere. I promise…

After having made my now famous ceviche a few nights ago (yes, I have had people come up to me in the street telling me about how they loved it), I had left over stuff that needed eating and this turned out really well.

Coriander and chilli tuna
Finely chop a handful of fresh coriander and half a red chilli and sprinkle over course ground sea salt and black pepper (with a dash of cumin if you fancy it), then rub a couple of nice thick tuna steaks with olive oil and dip them into the spicy herby mix, covering them all over. Let them sit for as long as you like and then fry in a searing hot pan for 45 seconds on each side. Leave to stand and serve with a green salad with red onion, dressed simply with lemon or lime juice and a good olive oil, well seasoned.

Turns out that last night I still had some coriander left over, so I did the same as above but with beef fillet (and added freshly ground cumin, coriander and fennel seeds) – really really good…

Catch up time

It’s been too long. Far far too long. I expect it’s typical of the amateur blogger – great expectations at the start, a spurt of enthusiasm for a few weeks then fizzle to nothing. So it is with renewed vigour that I sit here hoping to log another recipe or two.

Frankly the major challenge over the last six months has been talking the kids into eating something other than the same old stuff I trot out week after week.

Anyway – as luck would have it, I managed to take a photo of something I cooked recently, so I may as well commit it to e-paper –

Tuna Nicoise Salad

You need a lovely thick piece of fresh tuna to make this really good, although tinned can still work well. Bars and restaurants up and down the country attempt to wow us with this dish but it invariably ends up disappointing. Try this version – you’ll love it…

In a pestle and mortar, grind sea salt, black peppercorns and a pinch of cumin, then rub it all over the tuna. Put the tuna in a hot pan with some olive oil and sear for just  one minute on each side – no more – then set aside.

Boil a handful of new potatoes and when cooked, cut into slices the thickness of a pound coin. If you like, you can then fry them lightly in butter. At the same time, steam a handful of green beans. When they are just done, toss them in a pan with good olive oil, salt, pepper and finely chopped garlic for just 30 seconds and leave – they will soak up all the lovely salty, garlicy oil.

Tuna NicoiseBoil a few eggs for a few minutes until just hard boiled (hopefully the yolks will still be a litte runny) and peel.

Cut up a cos/romaine lettuce, a handful of plum tomatoes and a small red onion.

Now the dressing – a creamy one works best and if you have the patience (it’s really not that difficult to be honest) then I would do the following:

Separate an organic egg yolk into a bowl and add a teaspoon of dijon mustard, salt, pepper and a good splash of white wine vinegar and some tarragon. Now take a whisk and start beating while adding very slowly either very light olive oil or sunflower oil (It’s essentially a mayonnaise that you’re making – perfect for this salad). Keep adding oil until it reaches your desired consistency – for me that is thick and creamy…

Now to put it all together on a large plate. Cut the tuna into large slices and lay over the salad along with five or six anchovy fillets. then pour over the dressing and season further if needed.

Eat with really good stone baked organic white bread and a bottle of provence rose. Perfect for a hot/warm/rainy summer’s day.

Christmas Eve

There is so much to cover with regards food, I’m going to cut straight to chase and avoid stories of family and friends. Besides, a helpful colleague of mine told me that one should avoid getting into the whole diary thing as what might be interesting to me certainly won’t be to you…

So – we’ll start with the Spicy Apple Chutney and go from there…
There are one or two key ingredients in this, beyond that you can chuck all sorts of things into it. This is what I did –
Peel a few bramley apples and chop into chunks along with a handful of roughly red onion, white onion, red chilli and finely chopped ginger. Grind a good quantity of spices – cinnamon, star anise, salt, black pepper and cloves.
Put the lot in a saucepan along with half a litre of malt vinegar and a couple of table spoons of muscovado sugar for about half an hour, then add roughly chopped cucumber and tomatoes and cook for a further 15 minutes. I also added a handful of pickled jalapenos for an extra little kick, and a teaspoon of saffron for colour and depth.
Spoon the contents into sterilized jars and leave to cool. That’s it.
Perfect for dark meat and cheese…

Next, the Game Terrine – I’ve been looking forward to doing this for ages…
I used a couple of pigeon breasts, six pheasant thighs, some venison steak and 300 g of sausage meat. Cut all the meat into thin strips and colour in a hot frying pan them put in a large bowl. add the sausage meat, a couple of handfuls of breadcrumbs, a glug or two of cognac, salt, pepper and olive oil. Fry a finely chopped onion and add to the mix, then add lots of chooped fresh herbs – thyme and parsley for me…
Mix the whole lot up and put it into a greased, lined loaf tin and put in the oven in a bain marie at 180c for an hour and half. Take it out, let it cool, turn it out, cut it up and eat it with the chutney…

By this time the Christmas gang had arrived and it’s time to eat.
We start with Tuna and Scallop Ceviche
I practiced this a few weeks ago knowing that I wanted to cook it for Christmas Eve – it was brilliant then and it was even better the second time – and it is seriously easy to do:
Take fresh tuna steak and cut very finely into slices. Now take fresh scallops without the roe and again slice very thinly.
Lay the tuna and the scallops onto separate plates and add the following:
Finely chopped red chillies, red onions, and coriander, lots of lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Leave it to marinade for about 15 minutes and serve with lovely bread. Simple and completely fantastic…

And then to continue in fishy fashion we continue with one of my favourites – a really good Fish Pie that my sister taught me – you must try this one…

I used a mixture of fish and seafood – a monkfish tail, fillets of plaice, haddock and trout – to be honest it doesn’t matter what you use (although the monkfish works very well as it stays nice and meaty when the pie is cooked), a handful of peeled raw king prawns and a handful of scallops (cut in to pieces if necessary) depending on size.
Take the fillets and put them in a frying pan skin side down with a knob of butter and heat gently for a few minutes. Turn them over and take the pan off the heat. While the pan is cooling, carefully peel the skin off the fillets. They should not be cooked at this stage. Take a large dish and rip the fish into pieces and place in the dish, then leave to cool.
Now take your pan and make a roux (butter, then flour, then milk) and add 1/3 of a bottle of white wine, a couple of tablespoons of Dijon mustard, tarragon, salt and pepper to taste. When it starts to thicken, add cream. It should now taste great 0 if it doesn’t adjust accordingly. Make sure the sauce is quite thick as liquid from the fish will thin it during cooking – it should be the consistency of custard (not crème anglais).
When you come back to the fish, there should be liquid in the bottom of the dish that has come out of the fish as it cooled. Drain this away before adding the cooled sauce and mixing thoroughly.
For the topping, peel and par boil potatoes, then once cooled, grate them into a bowl with a huge lump of butter, salt, pepper and finely chopped capers (a must).
Put the topping over the fish mixture and place in an oven at 180c for 35 minutes.
Leave it to calm down a few minutes before serving…