Herb-Crusted Tuna Steak with a Balsamic Dijon Sauce

Herb-Crusted Tuna Steak with Balsamic Dijon Sauce
And Roasted Vegetables

Ingredients:
2 8-10oz Tuna Steaks
1/4 cup Herbes de Provence
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
4 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1 Tbsp Butter
3 Tbsp Honey

Directions:

  • Pat the Tuna Steaks with a paper towel and remove excess moisture on the outside. Salt and Pepper both sides.
  • Sprinkle the Herbes de Provence on both sides of the Tuna, and press lightly.
  • Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a skillet until hot.
  • Carefully place the Tuna steaks in the skillet.
  • Cook for 5-7 minutes, depending on how done you want your Tuna. Do not move them while they are cooking.
  • Using tongs or a spatula, carefully flip the Tuna and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Remove and let rest.
  • Add the Dijon, Butter, and Vinegars to the skillet, and mix well.
  • Lastly add the Honey, and reduce for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Drizzle the sauce over the Tuna, or serve on the side.

Makes 2 Tuna Steaks

NOTES: This is a very quick and flavorful way of making Tuna–and not the overused Miso-Wasabi variations people seem to be leaning on as of late. The herbs crust onto the tuna infusing the flavors into the meat. The sauce has a rich sweet and savory silkiness that complements the herbs and tuna.

Advertisements

Ratatouille Niçoise Rustique

Ratatouille Niçoise Rustique

Ingredients:
3-4 Tomatoes, ripe
1 lg Zucchini, diced
1 Japanese Eggplant, diced
1 – 2 Bell Peppers
1 medium Yellow Onion, diced
5 cloves Garlic, sliced
2-3 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 sprig fresh Rosemary
2 sprigs fresh Thyme
2 tsp fresh Basil, chopped fine
2 tsp fresh Parsley, chopped fine
1 Bay Leaf
1/4 cup Pinot Grigio or other Dry white wine.
1 Tbsp Salt
Pepper to taste
Water for Parboiling

Directions:

  • Bring a Pot of water to a boil. This will be used to help remove the skins from the Tomatoes.
  • While the water is being brought to a boil, prepare all the vegetables. When dicing, try to keep the sizes of the items the same.
  • When the water boils, use tongs, to place the Tomatoes into the water for 45 seconds. Remove them and peel the skins off. Be careful as they will be hot.
  • Slice the Tomatoes horizontally and scoop out the seeds. Remove the stem from the top half by cutting it out with a paring knife.
  • In a Dutch Oven, add the Onions, Garlic, and Bell Peppers to 1/2 the Olive Oil and 1/2 the Salt.
  • Saute on medium heat, sweating the onions, and cooking down the Peppers for 2-3 minutes.
  • In a separate skillet, add the Zucchini and Eggplant to the remaining Olive Oil and Salt.
  • Saute on medium-low heat, allowing the sides of the Zucchini and Eggplant to brown a little–about 3-6 minutes.
  • Stir both pots often so as to not allow anything to burn.
  • Add the Tomatoes and herbs to the Onion Pepper mixture and cook until the Zucchini and Eggplant in the other pot are lightly browned.
  • Add the Zucchini and Eggplant to the Tomato Mixture.
  • Add the Wine at this point, and mix well.
  • Let stew on the lowest setting, covered for 30-40 minutes, stirring often, to make sure nothing is sticking. Remove the Bay Leaf and Sprigs of Herbs before serving.

Makes 4 side-dish servings.

NOTES: Ratatouille is a Provencal dish–often called a peasant dish because of the simple ingredients. In the 1970s it became popular in America thanks to Julia Childs. There was a resurgence in the first decade of the 21st century with Disney’s Ratatouille, a film about a French rat who dreams of becoming a chef–and succeeds! I will admit, that my desire to make this came solely from the movie–yes I hold my head in shame. One aspect of the movie does ring true, and spoke to me, and that was the common mantra that “Anyone Can Cook”. And I think that is VERY important to remember.

Looking at the Ratatouille recipes that were out there, I noticed that their production suggested the individual cooking of each vegetable–something that just seems counter-intuitive to a “peasant” dish, but rather a chef’s way to keep individual flavors and deal with varying cooking times. My version uses two cooking dishes, dividing up the items based on how I thought it would be best to cook them.

This serves as a side dish but can also be served over Rice or Pasta as an entree.  I prefer it as a side dish with a good roast.

Burgundy Pork Tenderloin

Burgundy Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients:
Pork Tenderloin, 1lb
12 Pearl Onions, skinned and marked with a deep “x” along the bottom
4 cloves Garlic, sliced
2 Tbsp fresh Rosemary, coarsely chopped
1-2 Bay Leaves
1 Tbsp Capers (optional)
2 cups Table Mushrooms, thick sliced (or of small, whole)
1 cup Burgundy
1 cup Chicken Stock
1 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour
3 Tbsp unsalted Butter, room temperature
1 Tbsp Steak Spice Rub
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat the Oven to 350F.
  • Sprinkle the Pork Loin with the Spice Rub, and place into a Dutch Oven.
  • Combine Mushrooms, Onions, Garlic, Herbs, Wine, and Stock to the Dutch Oven.
  • Mix 1 Tbsp of Butter with the Flour, and form a Beurre manie.
  • Divide the Beurre manie in dollops on the top of the mixture.
  • Do the same with the remaining Butter.
  • Bake, covered for 35-40 minutes.
  • Remove the cover, and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
  • Remove the Roast from the Dutch Oven, and let rest on a plate before slicing against the grain.
  • Cover the sliced Roast with the Mushrooms and Onions, discarding the Bay Leaf.
  • Take the remaining liquid to the stove, and reduce on High Heat, until it can coat a spoon, adjusting Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • Pour over the Roast, or serve on the side.

NOTES: This is one of my favorite ways to do Pork Tenderloin. If you cannot find Burgundy, your favorite Red wine will do, so long as it is not too strong and dry.

Salade Niçoise à l’Américaine – Niçoise Salad (American Style)

Ingredients:
4 Tuna Fillets (about 6 oz each)
1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Sea Salt, or coarse Kosher
1/2 tsp Black Pepper, ground
12 baby Red Pontiac Potatoes
1 Roasted Red Bell Pepper
4-6 oz Green Beans, trimmed
4 Eggs
Water for boiling
1/3-1/2 lb Butterhead Lettuce
1/2 cup Fresh Basil
2 Tbsp Fresh Thyme
1/4 cup Fresh Mint
4 Plum Tomatoes, Quartered
2 Tbsp Capers
12 Niçoise Olives
4-8 Anchovies (optional)
1 cup Niçoise Vinaigrette

Directions:

  • Prepare the Tuna:
    • Heat a skillet on medium heat with 1/2 Tbsp of the Olive Oil.
    • Cut the Tuna into 2″ x 1″ strips.
    • Rub with the Salt and Pepper.
    • Place the Tuna in the pan, and sear each of the four long sides, watching the small sides to make an even searing to desired done-ness.
    • Set in the Refrigerator.
  • Place the Eggs in a pot and cover with water.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Turn off the heat and let sit for 12-15 minutes.
  • Remove and run under cold water, and peel the eggs; in the Refrigerator.
  • Return the Water to a boil.
  • Add the Potatoes and the Green Beans
  • Cook for 4 minutes, until the Green Beans turn bright Green.
  • Remove the Beans first, using tongs, and then the Potatoes.
  • Run both under cold water and set in the Refrigerator.
  • Give all the ingredients at least 20 minutes to cool.
  • Prepare wide bowls or salad plates for plating by dividing the Lettuce evenly.
  • Tear the Basil and Mint, and divide with the Thyme among the salad plates.
  • Quarter the Tomatoes, Potatoes, and Eggs.
  • Decoratively divide the Tomatoes, Potatoes, Eggs, and Green Beans among the salad plates. Usually this salad is deconstructed with the different items in piles next to each other on the Lettuce.
  • Slice the Tuna pieces perpendicular to the seared sides, in 1/4″ slices, and add to the Salad.
  • Add the Capers and Anchovies, and drizzle the Vinaigrette over it.

Serves 4

NOTES: Despite being what one would commonly find in most restaurants and diners in America and what Julia Child’s recipe calls Salade Niçoise, it is strikingly different from a true Salade Niçoise from Nice, France or the Côte d’Azur. Most noteworthy is the use of Blanched Potatoes and Green Beans–something not commonly used in the French namesake. Additionally, Mescaline salad would be used, and other items like Artichokes would be present. Still this is the version most Americans will know and recognize, and I find it tasty (without the Anchovies, which I have not yet come to like).  OH I should also mention that many of the French recipes  use Canned Tuna–I can only assume theirs is not “Chicken of the Sea”, though I’ve seen some marinated vacuum-sealed Tuna that may serve the purpose–and Lord know’s most diners use canned.

This salad, is often served as an Entrée, in a similar manner to the Cobb Salad.

I do have to share what Julia Child says about this sald in her book Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom:

Of all main-course salads, the Niçoise is my all-time favorite, with its fresh butter-lettuce foundation; its carefully cooked, beautifully green green beans; its colorful contrast of halved hard-boiled eggs, ripe red tomatoes, and black olives; all fortified by chunks of tunafish and freshly opened anchovies. It’s a perfect luncheon dish, to my mind, winter, summer, spring, and fall — an inspired combination that pleases everyone.

Mediterranean Braised Chicken with Couscous

Ingredients:
6 Chicken Thighs, skinless, boneless
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2-3 cloves Garlic, slivered
2 Shallots, diced
1 cup Pinot Grigio or other white wine
1 cup Chicken Broth
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp Rosemary, diced
1/2 cup Kalamata Olives, minced
1/2 cup Manzanilla Olives, minced
1 cup Tomatoes, diced
2 Tbsp Capers
1 cup Couscous

Directions:

  • In a deep saucepan, cook the Chicken thighs in the Olive Oil on low-medium heat for about 5-7 minutes. The more color, the more flavor you’ll get.
  • Remove the Chicken and set aside.
  • Add the Shallots and Garlic to the Oil, and lightly saute.
  • Deglaze with the Pinot Grigio and Chicken Broth.
  • Return the chicken to the saucepan, and add the Salt, Rosemary, Tomatoes, Olives, and Capers.
  • Simmer for about 10-20 minutes.
  • Add 1 cup of Couscous to the pot, and turn off the heat.
  • Cover for 5 minutes, as the Couscous absorbs the liquid.
  • Serve.

NOTES: You can always cook the Couscous separately from the dish, however I like to absorb the chicken broth and wine into the couscous to add some extra flavor. If you desire, you can chop up the chicken thighs; additionally if you cannot get boneless chicken thighs, you can use them. The important part is not the bones or size, but that it is the flavorful chicken thigh meat.

Tapenade

Tapenade

Ingredients:
1/2 cup variety of Black Olives, pitted
1/2 cup variety of Green Olives, pitted
1 Peperocini or Banana Pepper, de-seeded
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Capers
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Lemon Juice
1 tsp Anchovy Paste (optional)
1/4 tsp Black Pepper

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients into a food processor and pulse. You want a minced-grainy consistency.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Serve with bread or crackers or use as a topping on grilled meats.

NOTES: Tapenade comes from the Provençal region of Southern France, finding its name from the provençale word for capers, tapéno.
With regards to the types of Olives used… you can use any variety you choose. I like Kalamata Olives and Manzanilla Olives, but it is completely up to your tastes and cultivar availability. You can even use “Spanish Olives” with pimentos in the middle–gives it some color. I would probably not use a cheese-stuffed Olive, however.
I am not always a fan of Anchovies, and feel strongly that if you do not like ’em, leave ’em out.

Variations:
M›Ṽ/Ɣ – Leave out the Anchovy Paste.