Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tuna and tomato

Not your classic combination when you think of what automatically works, and what does not. But there are times when it is actually a good thing to break out of the mediocre and go bold in the kitchen. Brie on a pizza springs immediately to mind, but that's for another time. Here it's tuna and tomato, odd on the surface, grand underneath.

Tuna tartare with tomato dressing

Serves 4

Tuna tartare
250g sashimi-grade tuna, diced
10g chives, chopped
10g shallots, chopped
5g lemon confit or Moroccan preserved lemon
6 drops of Tabasco sauce
6 drops of Worcestershire sauce
35ml olive oil
Salt and pepper

Toss the diced tuna with all the remaining ingredients, season with salt and pepper and keep chilled till ready to serve.

Tomato pulp
500g red Roma tomatoes
65g sugar
10 basil leaves
Salt and pepper

Cut the tomatoes in half, combine them with the sugar and basil in a large bowl. Season well with salt and black pepper, and allow to rest, covered, for a couple of hours.

Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water, and cook for 1 and a half hours. Let the mixture sit in the fridge for a further 24 hours, then pass the finished pulp through a fine sieve.

Marry up the tuna tartare, the tomato pulp, something cracker like for crunch, something green as in rocket leaves, a sprinkle of the best salt and olive oil you have.

The alternative is - raw tuna, seasoned as you like, cut up some tomatoes, open a bag of pita chips, and the world is already a better place for it.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Lamb grilled with mustard and lemon

At the time of year where spring lamb is once again all the rage, you can do nothing better than take a couple of flavour agents to accompany the meat, and little else is needed. Basically a mild enough seasoning that does not overpower the flavour of the lamb is the name of the game here. Steaks cut from the leg usually come nearly 2.5cm thick - for anything thinner or thicker alter the cooking time accordingly, but really any cut here will do, I've actually used the whole loin here for this version. And a wee bit of wonderfully fresh tuna sashimi while waiting for the lamb to cook didn't do any harm either. 

Serves 2

2 plump cloves of garlic, peeled
a good pinch of sea salt
1 tblsp fresh thyme leaves or 2 tsp dried thyme
2 tblsp grain mustard
2 tblsp lemon juice
4 tblsp olive oil
4 lamb steaks, ribs or chops, weighing about 100g each

Crush the garlic with the salt in a pestle and mortar or in a small bowl with the end of the rolling pin. Add the herbs, mustard and lemon juice. Whisk in the oil with a fork, or small whisk, until the mixture has slightly thickened.

Pour one-third over the lamb, turn over the meat and anoint that side too with another third.

Heat the grill to very hot. Grill the lamb for 3-4 minutes on each side, depending on how thick the meat is.

Brush with the remaining mixture as you turn the meat. The lamb should be a little singed outside, and rare within.