Friday, July 31, 2009

Seared tuna with sweet and sour onion relish

Serves 4

Something a little special for the weekend here, and although we're often daunted by getting tuna just right, this is a relatively simple combination of flavours and technique to put together. Tamarind is the seed pod from a tree in South East Asia and India with a sour yet refreshing taste, perfectly suited to a piece of fatty and quite rare tuna.

salt and freshly ground pepper
4 x 180g pieces tuna loin, about 2 1/2 cm thick
80ml olive oil
4 medium red onions, finely sliced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
4 limes, zest and juice
2 tblsp palm sugar or caster sugar
3 tblsp tamarind paste
2 tsp Thai fish sauce
1/2 cup coriander leaves
8 large basil leaves

Lightly season the fish and brush with a little oil. Leave to rest at room temperature while you make the relish.

Heat the remaining oil in a deep frying pan and sauté the onions on a medium heat for five minutes, stirring occasionally.

Once they begin to colour, add garlic and turn heat to high. Stir continuously for a minute, and then add lime zest and juice, sugar, tamarind paste and Thai fish sauce. Cook a further minute, and then add coriander and basil leaves. Remove from heat.

Heat a heavy frying pan until really hot and smoking. Place tuna on and cook for only 45 seconds each side.

The fish will be rare and moist inside. Remove to a plate and top with hot relish. Serve with crunchy steamed greens or a green salad.