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Chefs’ Corner: Rossini’s Insalata al Tonno (Salad with Tuna)


Insalata al Tonno at Rossini Italian Bistro.

Looking for a light salad for a hot summer’s day that is substantial enough to work as a main course? You might want to try this delicious, rustic array from Rossini Italian Bistro. It goes together in minutes.

“This is how we eat at home,” says Maria De Rosa, whose husband, Ezio, is the chef.

The dish, like the best of all Italian food, is simplicity itself. That means you need the best ingredients you can find because you can taste just how perfect (or imperfect) each one is. At Rossini, the field greens are organic, the extra-virgin olive oil packs plenty of flavor, and the asiago cheese aged enough to make it crumbly on top of the salad.

You can also change the recipe to use what you have from your garden or what you’ve just picked up from the farmers market. Tomatoes would work beautifully, as would hard-boiled eggs, cold roasted chicken instead of the tuna, or strips of zucchini, whatever you wish.

Rossini Italian Bistro is at 2195 N.W. Military Hwy. at West Avenue. Call 210-615-7270.

Rossini’s Insalata al Tonno (Salad with Tuna)

Field greens
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Canned tuna, well-drained
Asiago cheese, shaved into thin slices
Capers

Fill a salad bowl with desired amount of greens. Lightly dress the salad with olive oil and vinegar, to taste, and place on chilled plates.

Top with shreds of tuna and asiago cheese. Sprinkle capers on top. Drizzle a little more olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste.

From Ezio De Rosa, Rossini Italian Bistro.

 

 

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Zucchini Salad Crowns Jamie Oliver’s Tuna on Roasted Salsa


How hot do you like your salsa? Use 2 or 3 chiles in the recipe to taste.

Jamie Oliver’s dish isn’t just appropriate for Lent; it is healthful and very colorful.

Tuna on Roasted Salsa

Salsa:
2 to 3 fresh green chiles
2 green bell peppers
1 red onion, peeled and halved
8 cloves garlic, unpeeled
3 medium red tomatoes
Juice of 3 limes
Large handful of fresh cilantro
Olive oil

Zucchini salad:
2 zucchini or yellow squash
Handful of fresh mint, leaves picked and chopped
Extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon

Fish:
4-by-7 ounce (1-inch thick) pieces of sustainably caught (sushi grade) tuna
Extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

First get your salsa going. Prick the chiles all over, then, on a hot grill or grill pan, blacken and blister the salsa vegetables. Once nice and black all over, pop them into a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and put to one side. Halve and seed the bell peppers and chiles, then peel the skins off the charred veggies. Don’t wash any of these veggies under the tap or you’ll wash away their wonderful flavors.

At this point, get the tuna out of the refrigerator  so it has time to come up to room temperature. Put all your charred vegetables into a food processor. Add lime juice, cilantro, a generous pinch of salt and pepper, and a few good lugs of olive oil, and pulse until it is  the right consistency for you. Have a taste — it’s important to get the flavors right, so add more salt, pepper or lime juice until you’re happy. Put the salsa into a bowl and set aside. Remember to check the seasoning later, as the flavors may change.

Peel the zucchini or squash lengthwise into thin ribbons. If you’ve got big zucchini, avoid the fluffy center. Put these ribbons into a bowl with the mint leaves, then drizzle with a good glug of extra-virgin olive oil and the lemon juice and toss until nicely coated.

Put the grill pan on a high heat and let it get screaming hot. Drizzle the tuna with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper on both sides. Lay it in the hot pan and sear for 2 to 3 minutes on each side if you like it blushing like I do, or for a little longer if you prefer.

Put a big spoonful of salsa on each of your plates and lay a piece of tuna on top. Give the zucchini salad a good squeeze of lemon juice and another drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, taste it for seasoning, then plonk a nice handful of ribbons over each piece of tuna. Such fresh flavors.

Makes 4 servings.

From “Jamie’s America” by Jamie Oliver

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Grilled Tuna Tacos a Meaty Treat


Are you looking for some fresh ideas to incorporate more seafood into your diet? Here’s one dish so tasty that you won’t believe you’re giving anything up for Lent. As Rick Moonen, creator of the recipe, says, “Can I tell you these things rock? Meaty tuna gives the tacos the kind of kick you’d expect from skirt steak.”

Grilled Tuna Tacos

Cabbage:
1/4 pound napa or savory cabbage, shredded
Juice of 1 1/2 limes
Coarse salt, to taste

Rub:
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
3 (5-ounce) pieces tuna, 3/4-inch thick
Coarse salt, to taste

Serving:
12 corn tortillas
Lime wedges
Ripe tomatoes, sliced into half-moons
Coarse salt, to taste
Guacamole
Mango salsa (optional)

For the cabbage: Combine the cabbage and lime juice in a mixing bowl. Salt it well and toss with your hands or a big spoon. Taste for salt. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you need it.

For the rub: Combine the chili powder, coriander seeds, and cumin seeds in a spice grinder. Process to a fine dust. Pour the rub out into a small bowl.

Heat up your indoor grill or heat a cast-iron grill pan over medium-high heat.

Spoon the oil onto a plate and rub the fish in it, coating it on both sides. Season the fish on both sides with salt and the rub. Use all of the rub and work it into the fish.

[amazon-product]061853119X[/amazon-product]Cook the fish for 2 minutes in the indoor grill. If you’re using a grill pan, grill for 1 1/2 minutes per side. Put the fish on a carving board and let it rest while you toast the tortillas.

Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, or use the griddle you used for the tuna. Toast the tortillas until warmed through and browned in spots, about 30 second a side. Pile them in a cloth-lined basket as they’re toasted.

To serve, cut the tuna into fingers and arrange on a platter with the lime wedges. Pile the cabbage in the center of another platter and surround with the sliced tomatoes. Season the tomatoes with salt.

Set the table with guacamole and mango salsa, if desired; the basket of tortillas, the tuna and limes, and the cabbage and tomatoes, and let everyone dig in.

Makes 12 tacos.

From “Fish Without a Doubt” by Rick Moonen and Roy Finamore

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Seafood on Christmas Eve Saves Time


Rose colored fish with a lemon wine marinade

It’s Christmas Eve, and you haven’t a moment to spare. That’s why seafood for dinner makes so much sense.

In Italy, seafood dishes on Christmas Eve are a must. For Catholics, serving seafood was a way of avoiding red meat on a holy day.

There is a more practical reason to continue this tradition: Many seafood dishes are easy to prepare.

Oyster stew comes together in a matter of minutes and is best eaten as fresh as possible. Every time I make it, I’m surprised at how quick this treat is. Though oyster crackers are a popular choice for sprinkling over the stew, I prefer a rustic bread, like a crusty sourdough rye, slathered in butter. Rich and hearty don’t begin to describe its wonders.

Salmon is a healthy fish that is best served simply, such as a sauté with cucumber. Cooked cucumber may seem strange to some, but it is a true partner to the fish. Rice or pasta with garlic butter on the side finish off the meal.

Tuna is a fish that shouldn’t be overcooked, so pan-searing it about 3-4 minutes on each side will get you dinner on the table quickly. Tuna Steak au Poivre, a French term referring to the pepper used on the outer skin,  Serve this dish with a salad of mixed greens or arugula.

So, if you’re in a rush to make a candlelight service or get some last-minute packages wrapped, then try a simple seafood dish. You’ll give your family something hearty and get have more time to enjoy the holiday.

Tuna Steak au Poivre Comes Together Quickly

Tuna Steak au Poivre Comes Together Quickly

Oysters

Serving Oyster Stew Is an Easy Tradition to Follow

Rose colored fish with a lemon wine marinade

Rose colored fish with a lemon wine marinade

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Tuna Steak au Poivre Comes Together Quickly


TunaTuna Steak au Poivre

3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon grated peeled ginger
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 scallion green, thinly sliced
2 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon white peppercorns
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 pounds tuna steaks (1-inch thick)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Stir together soy sauce, water, lime juice, ginger, sugar, and scallion.

Coarsely crush peppercorns and coriander with a mortar and pestle or heavy skillet. Sprinkle tuna with 3/4 tsp salt, then press spice mixture evenly all over fish.

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then sear tuna, turning once, about 6 minutes for medium-rare.

Serve with teriyaki or dipping sauce, if desired.

Makes 4 servings.

From Epicurious.com.

(Photo: Mohamed Aly)

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Recipe: Tuna Ceviche With Coconut Milk, Mint and Cilantro


ceviche1This refreshing ceviche has a light Asian touch, thanks to the addition of coconut milk and cilantro.

3/4 pound sushi A-grade yellowfin tuna
2 medium shallots, peeled and minced
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into fine dice
1 serrano chile, trimmed, seeded and cut into fine dice
1/2 bunch scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced on a diagonal
Fine sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
Juice of 1 lime
2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk (see note)
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves removed, cut crosswise into fine ribbons (chiffonade)
2 sprigs of fresh mint, leaves removed, cut crosswise into fine ribbons (chiffonade)

Trim away any sinew from the tuna. Cut the tuna into neat 1/4-inch dice, and put in a medium stainless bowl. Add the shallots, pepper, chile and scallions. Season well with salt, pepper and a pinch of cayenne. Add the lemon and lime juices, coconut milk, cilantro and mint and combine gently. Marinate for 2-3 minutes. Check seasoning. Serve immediately.

To make ahead, simply refrigerate the tuna until guests arrive. Have the vegetables ready (store the serrano separately from the others). Toss, then create the marinade and stir it fresh for your guests. Serve with pita crisps or a sturdy corn chip, if serving as an hors d’oeuvre.

Note: Because the tuna is cut in a small dice, it marinates very quickly. It doesn’t have to sit for a long time, as a more traditional method of preparing ceviche requires. Unsweetened coconut milk is available at Asian groceries.

Wine suggestion: Viognier

Adapted slightly from “The Manhattan Ocean Club Seafood Cookbook” by Jonathan Parker

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