Friday, January 1, 2010

Recipe- Yellow Fin Tuna with Mango Salsa and Babaganoush and Carmelized Onions and Tomatoes

Tuna is the most common fish to be found lately.  They sell it by the whole fish and you tell them "I want five pounds (or whatever)" and they cut you a hunk with a cutlass and throw in on a scale in the back of the truck- this whole thing happens on the back of a truck on wooden planks.  There is no loin, side, or belly- it's just the whole round of a tuna- they start at the top and work down to the tail.  So I have little cleaning up to do.  I just cut it into steaks and throw most of it in the freezer.  I know that tuna is being wildly over fished and I hope that I am not doing too much damage by supporting its capture.

Tuna Steak Topped with Mango Banana Salsa

For two people

-Two 6-7 ounce tuna steaks-as fresh as possible (if you aren't by the ocean you shouldn't be eating fish anyway unless you have some serious hook up- like a friend who drives from the coast with fish in a cooler full of ice)
-A smidgen of Coconut or Olive oil
-Some kind of juice for marinating- orange, passion fruit, sorrel (hibiscus tea- a holiday (and my own) favorite here.

Marinate the steaks in the juice while you make the salsa (recipe below).  Heat a skillet with the smidgen of oil til smokin hot.  Take tuna out of the marinade, dry it off, and throw in the skillet.  Brown on either side and then turn the heat down to medium and let cook til you like it.  I like it a little rare- it will still be bouncy when you touch it.  As it cooks it becomes more flaky feeling to the touch.  If it is actually fresh and has been marinated for a minute it will take a while to dry out and become unbearable so don't worry if you cook it past your desired temp.  I just say cook it til you think it's ready, poke a knife into a piece if you have to to check out the inside and serve it up.  Top with thinly sliced avocado if you wish and Mango Banana Salsa

Mango Banana Salsa

-One banana- ripe but not too soft
-One mango- very ripe
-One small tomato
-One small onion (or half a large)
-Juice of half a lime
-Hot peppers if you so desire and have them on hand (I didn't)

Dice the banana, mango, tomato, and onion.  Mix in the lime juice and a pinch of salt to begin.  Taste and add lime and salt if needed (if it tastes bland and flat add a little of both.  If your fruit is not local there is a good chance it will taste bland and flat forever so a bit of hot pepper and more tomato might be in order).  The mango does not need to hold its shape because it should be so ripe it's smooshy.  Don't over mix though because you want some chunks for interest (unless you don't- in which case do over mix)

I can't really remember the last recipe I've seen for babaganoush- I just use what I have on hand and blend it to a paste and call it babaganoush.  I do always roast the eggplant and garlic but sometimes I also roast some red peppers or onions with that and I've even roasted hot peppers.  More often than not I also don't have herbs to go in or I don't have parsley....  If I have paprika I add it, as well as cumin.  I use lime juice if I don't have lemon....  The main ingredients I stick to are:

-Three medium eggplants- any kind works
-Four cloves garlic- whole, skin on
-3/4 cup tahini
-Juice of half a lemon (or lime)
-Olive oil 
-And any of the above- raw garlic (this I usually add),cumin, paprika, herbs (oregano, parsley, basil, and thyme all work well), onion, roasted peppers... if you are not worried about tradition anything will be wonderful

Cut the eggplants in half and put them on an oiled pan with the garlic and into a hot oven- 400 degrees F will be just fine.  Roast until the eggplants are shriveled and squishy- you could broil them to blacken the skins.  I personally like the skins in the dip so I prefer not to burn them.  I think it is more traditional to char them as they usually have been cooked in a fire- it does add a nice smoky flavor.  Put the eggplant in a food processor- you can slip it out of the skin or not.  If they are big and have tough skins I would take it off but usually I just leave it on.  Squeeze the garlic from its skin and add it to the eggplant.  Add lemon juice, a clove more raw minced garlic, tahini, a pinch of salt, and a drizzle of oil- and anything else you'd like- remember to roast all the vegetables if you are adding new ones.  Blend it til smooth and taste.  Add whatever you need.  Sometimes you can make it perfect first try and sometimes you have to add things several times before it it right- just follow your taste and be careful.  Add more garlic for zing, cumin for earthiness,  tahini for another earthy taste and creaminess, oil to thin it out (or even water is fine), lemon or lime as an acid, and especially salt to enhance everything.  It is a true miracle when you reach that perfect point where the salt itself brings out every flavor- too little and there will be dominate tastes and too much and all you taste is salt- just go slow but don't be shy.

Caramelized Onions And Tomatoes

-2 onions -sliced thinish
-2 tomatoes- sliced
-pinch of sugar 
-pinch of cumin
-1/2 pinch of coriander
-drizzle of coconut oil

Heat the oil in a skillet on medium heat.  Add the onions and cook til soft and wilty.  Turn the heat up and  add cumin, coriander and tomatoes.  Sprinkle on the sugar and a little salt.  Cook til tomatoes release their juices and everything gets brown and yummy smelling.

Serve everything with fresh handmade pita- or other flat bread (although pita is nice because you can make little pockets with both ingredients in them). 




No comments: