Not that I’m easily influenced by external stimuli or anything, but I spied this dish being cooked on the telly on the weekend in Saturday Kitchen re-runs, and next thing you know I’m dishing it up on Tuesday night!  Was quite pleased with the results, just between you and me…

It’s a Rick Stein recipe, who I had the pleasure of (briefly) meeting when we went down to Padstow one year for May Day – no idea who he was at the time, so that’s fairly irrelevant.

Anyway, here goes:

tuna_and_saladTuna & aromatic rice noodle salad

2 tuna steaks (150g each did for us)

Glaze:
2 T balsamic vinegar
3 T dark soy sauce

Salad:
1 t sesame seeds
75g vermicelli noodles
1 decent sized bunch of coriander
6 spring onions
1 small bunch garlic chives
1 packet of watercress
lime zest of 1 lime (also keep juice for dressing)
3 green chillies
2 T pickled sushi ginger

Salad dressing:
2 T fish sauce
75mL water
2 t sesame oil
2 T sunflower oil

Preparation:

  1. Take the tuna out of the fridge to give it a chance to get away from being chilled.
  2. Toast the sesame seeds – I just put them in a saucepan on a low heat & kept them moving every minute or so.
  3. Cook vermicelli & drain – usually this involves putting it in a bowl and covering it with boiled water then waiting & tasting periodically til it tastes right.
  4. Pick the leaves off the coriander.  And keep them.
  5. Thinly slice spring onions and green chilli (remove seeds).
  6. Finely slice pickled ginger.
  7. Chop (or cut up with scissors) garlic chives.
  8. Mix together lime juice, fish sauce, sesame oil, sunflower oil & water.
  9. Oil tuna steak surfaces with sunflower oil.
  10. Mix balsamic and soy in a cup.

Instructions once that’s done:

  1. Put frying pan on hot burner & have it heat up while you mix the salad.
  2. In a reasonably big bowl mix up the coriander leaves, spring onions, green chilli, watercress and garlic chives.
  3. Sprinkle in & mix lime zest, pickled ginger, & sesame seeds.
  4. Dump vermicelli in and toss about til mixed.
  5. Pour dressing over the whole lot & stir to distribute.
  6. Put tuna in hot frying pan and sear for 30(ish) seconds per side. Give the ends about 15 seconds too.
  7. Pour the balsamic/soy glaze over the tuna into the pan, turning the steaks a couple of times to ensure liberal coating.
  8. Diagonally slice the tuna in thick-ish bits.  About 3 or 4 slices per steak should do.
  9. Artistically serve bed of salad with slices of tuna on top.

Lessons learned:

  • The original recipe suggested reducing the soy/balsamic glaze and pouring it over the top of the tuna once served.  We found this to work out way too salty, although it was possibly down to the soy sauce brand we used?
  • Tuna is frigging expensive.
  • It’s difficult to get tuna as fine as what Rick was cooking, but then he runs a multi-million pound chain of fish restaurants, so Tesco on the day after a bank holiday is unlikely to have their A-list fish on.  Still, bloody tasty and did the trick!
  • The difference between T (tablespoons) and t (teaspoons) is, as ever, critical.  The recipe I was following used tbsp and tsp as notation, and in the heat of battle I failed to notice a missing ‘b’.  As it happens, I love the flavour of sesame oil (Liz is less of a fan), but I’m sure more balance could be achieved if those ratios were better.
  • When toasting seeds, keep an eye on them.  They burn easily.  It turns out.

Bloody good stuff – stick it next to a nice bottle of Fiano, and you’re done!