Saturday, September 1, 2012

Fresh Tuna Salad

Yes, it is still hot in Los Angeles and though I was foolish enough to heat the oven to 500 degrees to get some pizzas going last week (another blog post on that, coming soon!), I really tried to make things as cool as possible.  Hence, this really fabulous looking and eating Nicoise Salad from Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home cookbook.  The Ad Hoc cookbook is in coffee table size huge.  And even though I generally go for function over form when it comes to cookbooks, this is a pretty good one.  The recipes aren't IMPOSSIBLE (where, oh where, do I find corn fungus or freekeh?) and the pictures are glossy and inspirational.  

Trader Joes and a decent fish market are your best friends for this dish, though you can get everything from just about any ol' market.  Just make sure your fish is sushi grade (thank you, ubiquitous Japanese markets around West LA.)  It is definitely company worthy, but totally worth making for you and whatever other members of your family will eat it.

1 lb trimmed center cut tuna loin (4 x 4 x 2 block if possible)
3 heads Bibb lettuce (or you could use another delicate lettuce like the butter lettuce package from Trader Joes)
3/4 c Canola oil
2 Tbl Dijon mustard
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
6 oz haricort verts (skinny french green beans, again available at TJ's)
bowl of ice water
4 oz cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 c pitted kalamata olives
4  eggs
tarragon leaves (tasty, but the dish will work without it)
chervil (yep, this is one of those ingredients I just left out...where on earth do you find chervil?)


1.  Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil and dump in the haricort verts for a couple of minutes, until bright green. Drain and put in ice water for 5 minutes or so until cool.  Drain again and put aside.  Get more ice water ready for the eggs.

2. Put the eggs into a pot of cold water and bring to a simmer over medium high heat.  Cook for 4 minutes once water is simmering.  Transfer the eggs to the ice water to stop them from cooking further.

3.  Make the dressing:  combine canola oil, red wine vinegar and dijon mustard in a small jar...shake, shake, shake like a polaroid picture.  

The above steps can be done ahead of time.  You don't have to use all of it in one salad...use your will stay in the fridge for more salads of any sort during the week.

4.  Season the tuna on all sides with kosher salt and pepper.  Heat some canola oil over a frying pan and when it is really hot, add the tuna.  Turn the tuna when the bottom has cooked through (you can see it on the ends) and continue to cook until the top has cooked through.  Remove the tuna from the pan and drain on paper towels.  Slice tuna into 1/2 slices.

5.  Assemble the salad:  Toss the lettuce with some of the dressing and add kosher salt and pepper.  Cut the haricort verts in half and add to salad along with tomatoes, olives, peeled eggs cut in quarters, and cut up avocado.  Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.  Place tuna on top and add tarragon, if using.