Local ahi tuna steaks seared with a touch of balsamic glaze, served with sweet and sour Sicilian stemperata sauce--chunky like a salsa. This is a quick-to-make dinner with great flavors. I wanted pasta but didn't want all the calories and extra carbs so I kept it fresh with some spiralized zucchini noodles (we get local zucchini year-round here), sauteed with a touch of olive oil and oregano to match the sauce.
Diana says, "Sicily is tuna heaven. The fish is served in hundreds of ways--in countless tomato sauces, with almonds, with oranges, with vinegar and onions, raw, marinated, with pasta and without. Many of the dishes, like this one, are sweet and sour, showing the island's Arab legacy. This sauce is a cinch to make , can be prepared in advance, and tastes great."
Sicilian Tuna in Stemperata Sauce
Adapted from Crazy Water Pickled Lemons by Diana Henry
4 thick tuna loin steaks
salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil to serve
For the Sauce:
4 celery sticks plus the leaves, finely chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
5 1/2 oz pitted green olives, some halved, some coarsely chopped
6 oz capers, rinsed
3 oz raisins, plumped in hot water and drained
3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
freshly ground black pepper
For the sauce, heat the olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan and fry the onion and celery until soft and just beginning to turn golden. Add the garlic, olives, capers and raisins and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the oregano and vinegar and
cook until the vinegar is evaporated.
When you want to serve, rub
olive oil, salt, and freshly ground pepper on each side of the fish and heat a ridged griddle or frying pan until very hot. Cook the tuna for 1-1 1/2 minutes on each side. This will give you tuna which is like a rare
steak – charred on the outside, pink and melting inside. In the final
few seconds splash in some balsamic vinegar and let it bubble away, turning the tuna over once in the vinegar. It gives a wonderful glow.
Serve the tuna immediately with the
stemperata sauce and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.
Notes/Results:If you are a caper fanatic and olive fan like I am, you will like this dish. The sweet/sour combination and crispness of the sauce is a wonderful contrast for the creaminess of the seared ahi tuna. It worked well on the zucchini noodles too. I was a little leery of putting the balsamic vinegar on the tuna as sometimes the taste overpowers everything, but the small splash (I used a just a bit of a lighter-flavored sundried tomato balsamic) livened it up without competing with the other ingredients. Such wonderful flavors for a really fast-to-the-table meal. I will make this again.
This dish is being linked to I Heart Coking Clubs for this week's "Sweet Cloves and Liquid Gold" theme--celebrating the joys of garlic and olive oil. It from the chapter of the same name in Crazy Water Pickled Lemons by current IHCC chef Diana Henry. You can check out what everyone makes by checking out the picture links on the post.