June 27, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — ros @ 3:08 pm

One of the things I love most about tuna is it’s versatility.  

I wouldn’t normally have tuna twice in one week but I had to make an exception. For the whole of last week, Goon was asking for tuna steaks for dinner. I kept ignoring him because the weather was unseasonably cold and, as a result, I was craving heavier more comforting food. Then, as soon as Goon went away for the weekend, the sun came out, it got very warm and tuna steaks seemed like an excellent idea.

Browsing around Sainsbury’s, I came across a vegetable I hadn’t tried before. It was a chinese cabbage called choi sum. I’m sick to death of being stuck with pak choi whenever I’m making chinese, so I was very keen to try this new leaf. I decided to make an udon noodle soup with the choi sum, some oriental mushrooms (which I managed to get for free since the tills weren’t working properly \o/) and top it with a seared tuna steak.

This is a dish which I would have blogged before but, for some reason, it is always very difficult to photograph. This has been my best effort so far.

tuna, udon noodle soup

This dish always involves a lot of improvisation. I boil vegetable (or chicken) stock with chopped coriander, spring onion and red chilli, minced garlic and ginger, lemongrass, lime leaves and thai fish sauce in varying amounts depending on my mood. On this occasion I wanted something quite fiery, so a lot of chilli and ginger went in.

The tuna is just marinated in chilli, garlic and ginger and griddled until rare. To assemble the dish, pop the cooked vegetables and noodles in the bowl, pour over the soup and sit the tuna steak on top.  It’s best to wait until the soup is at room temperature. Otherwise it’ll cook your tuna steak more than you intended. 

When Goon found out about my dinner he wasn’t very happy. He sulked. A lot. To appease him i agreed to make tuna again when he came back at the end of the weekend, but I really didn’t fancy exactly the same thing again.

Fortunately, the versatility of tuna meant there were lots of other things I could make. This time I thought I’d do something completely different to my last tuna meal. Instead of a hot and spicy oriental dish, I went for more gentle flavours of saffron, lemon, herbs and garlic.

tuna with garlic and parsley marinade, tapenade and saffron couscous

The marinade this time was a mixture of finely chopped basil and parsley with crushed garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice. The  black thing is a tapenade, made from black olives blitzed with soaked capers, more garlic (this is not a first date meal) and chilli infused olive oil. I like my tapenade quite chunky, so I kept the blitzing brief.

That was enough to keep Goon happy. I was suprised by the fact I preferred the second meal to the first. Usually I’m a real sucker for tuna in an oriental style, but the lemon and herb marinade beat the ginger and coriander hands down.  It had also been a long time since I’d had my own home made tapenade, so having that again made the meal even better.

Now, if only I could afford sushi grade fish, I could make some more exciting things with tuna.


  1. Choi sum is the king of chinese vegetables (in my opinion). The name translates in cantonese to “vegetable heart”. They’re great in noodle soups, but even better steamed or stir fried with ginger, garlic and chilli - both styles with a good dribble of oyster sauce.

    i recently discovered that simmering star anise in the stock gives it that extra oomph too.

    ps. i LOVE udon. this dish was made for me! :-)

    Comment by schmoofaoof — June 27, 2007 @ 8:43 pm

  2. Is that cous cous underneath the tuna? I’d eat both meals no problem, but I have to say I’d probably go for the first one (but with fine rice noodles instead of the udon). Where do you get your tuna from? If you don’t mind me asking

    Comment by Trig — June 29, 2007 @ 12:21 pm

  3. Love your blog! Have taken the liberty of adding your site to my June roundup (http://www.shantanughosh.com/2007/06/june-jaunt-thru-blogworld.html).

    Comment by Traveller — June 30, 2007 @ 6:17 pm

  4. Thanks for the information and the recommendations, Schmoof. I’m a major udon junkie too!

    Hi Trig, yes, I meant to say that. It’s saffron couscous. My tuna comes from either Sainsbury (Cromwell Road) or Waitrose (High Streen kensington) depending on which route I take home. Now I might also use the Whole Foods market to buy tuna. They have some beautiful fish there but it is fairly expensive so it’s something to buy for a treat when I’m home alone!

    Thanks for putting me on yor roundup, Traveller. I’m glad you’ve been enjoying the site. :)

    Comment by ros — July 2, 2007 @ 3:51 pm

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