Gardening, Cooking and Decorating on the Prairie of Kansas

Welcome to Linderhof, our 1920's home on the prairie, where there's usually something in the oven, flowers in the garden for tabletops and herbs in the garden for cooking. Where, when company comes, the teapot is always on and there are cookies and cakes to share in the larder.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Tuna Nicoise, Linderhof Style

After all the rich holiday food, meals in January tend to be less rich. What could be a more perfect dinner than fresh tuna served nicoise style? The tuna was a gift and what great tuna it was -- lightly seared on both sides, the inside meltingly tender. It's a classic recipe and shouldn't be tampered with but finding myself without any harricot vert I substituted the last bit of asparagus in the fridge. We certainly didn't miss the green beans for the asparagus went well with the tuna and other vegetables.
Tomatoes are usually a part of a nicoise platter but in the winter we don't buy store tomatoes (except plum tomatoes to roast) but we didn't miss them -- I fixed an extra egg instead! Husband Jim doesn't like olives so I didn't put any on my plate either.

The best recipe for tuna nicoise that I've found is the one from The Barefoot Contessa -- it's easy and oh, so good! Here is her recipe, fixed my way!

Tuna Nicoise, Linderhof Style

2 (1-inch-thick) fresh tuna steaks (about 4 pounds)
Good olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
1 recipe French Potato Salad, recipe follows
2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and cut in 1/2
handful of mixed baby greens
For the vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
10 tablespoons good olive oil

To grill the tuna, get a charcoal or stove-top cast iron grill very hot. Brush the fish with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill each side for only 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. The center should be raw, like sushi, or the tuna will be tough and dry. Arrange the tuna,asparagus, potato salad, eggs, and mixed baby greens on a large flat platter.

For the vinaigrette, combine the vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion. Drizzle some over the fish and vegetables and serve the rest in a pitcher on the side.

French Potato Salad:

1 pound small white boiling potatoes
1 pound small red boiling potatoes
2 tablespoons good dry white wine
2 tablespoons chicken stock
3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
10 tablespoons good olive oil
1/4 cup minced scallions (white and green parts)
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves

Drop the white and red potatoes into a large pot of boiling salted water and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until they are just cooked through. Drain in a colander and place a towel over the potatoes to allow them to steam for 10 more minutes. As soon as you can handle them, cut in 1/2 (quarters if the potatoes are larger) and place in a medium bowl. Toss gently with the wine and chicken stock. Allow the liquids to soak into the warm potatoes before proceeding.

Combine the vinegar, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion. Add the vinaigrette to the potatoes. Add the scallions, dill, parsley, basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss. Serve warm or at room temperature.

1 comment:

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

You are so right. This looks like the perfect menu for January!