Tuna a la Nick Saturday Night

Seared Tuna with marinated cucumber salad and couscous
Seared Tuna with marinated cucumber salad and couscous

While Mary and I were shopping Saturday afternoon, a nice selection of Tuna steaks caught Mary’s eye and she immediately new what she wanted for dinner.  My challenge now was to figure our how I wanted to prepare the tuna and then build a dinner around the main course.  I traveled to my local grocery store for provisions to match the expectations and decided on a sesame pepper encrusted seared Tuna topped with a garlic- shallot-soy reduction, accompanied with a cucumber salad marinated in rice vinegar, basil and salt.  As a starch, I added a seasoned couscous.  The recipe follows:

Salad:  remove the skin from a cucumber and then, using a peeler, cut long strips down to the seeds.  Collect the strips in a medium bowl adding a 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar, two teaspoons basil and a pinch of salt.  Stir and place in the refrigerator.

Couscous:  Saute a chopped clove of garlic and a chopped shallot in olive oil.  In a medium pan, boil 1 cup of water.  When the water boils, add the garlic-onion mixture, a pinch of salt, about 1/2 teaspon olive oil with a cup of couscous.  Stir, cover and remove from the heat.  Allow to set for at least 5 minutes.

Tuna:  Now the main course.  Rub the steaks with olive oil and then season liberally with sesame seeds and fresh ground pepper.  Place the steaks in a hot saute pan with olive oil that is just smoking over a medium-high heat.  Cook on one side for about 2 minutes and turn and cook for another two minutes or until the middle is warm, (not cooked).  Remove the Tuna to a warming oven.  Add chopped garlic and shallots to the pan and saute.  Deglaze with dry white wine and then add soy sauce for volume.  Slice the Tuna against the grain of the meat and plate.  Drizzle the pan sauce then add the salad and couscous.

Overall:  Wow, what a meal.  The Tuna was flavorful with an accent of the seasonings complemented by a nice contribution of the tart cucumber salad and the mediterranean influence of the couscous.  Served with a nice Foley Chardonnay and we had a meal worthy of a night out.  This is a very quick meal requiring minimal cooking.  The prep takes the longest and that is just to chop a few items.  Very impressive for guests.  As a variation, try pan searing the tuna for only about 1 minute on each side and then move to a hot outdoor grill and finish.  The heat of an open fire will add a toasting to the meat and the added grill marks always looks good on the plate.  Enjoy!