I think this might be called ‘having too much time on your hands’.
After 12 weeks of school canteen meals, scrounging processed cheese sandwiches from the kids’ lunch time maths clubs and, at worst but most frequently, skipping lunch altogether, I’m ready for some good home-cooked food at lunchtime. I may have gone a little over the top this time, but can you blame me? This is the first time since the Christmas break that I’ve had time to spend in the kitchen.
The dish pictured above is a tuna nicoise. Like most contemporary restaurants, I have foregone the traditional use of flaked tuna and replaced this with a seared tuna steak. I’ve also replaced the boiled hen’s egg with three soft (in theory) boiled quails’ eggs. Everthing else remains the same apart from a little (in theory) drizzle of balsamic reduction to dip the cherry tomatoes in. Yes, I know there is too much reduction and two of the quails’ eggs are overcooked. I’d like to see you make this perfectly first time around. :p
I first encountered a tuna nicoise made like this in a lovely little tapas bar in Leamington Spa. The dish didn’t stay on the menu for long but the memory lingered with me and I’ve never found a nicoise as good since then. So, what better to do on the first of my 21 days off work than recreate it as closely as possible in my own kitchen while Goon and our new pet looked at me as if I was crazy.
Goon accused me of over-cooking the tuna.
Yeah, right, like that’s ever going to happen. I might forget to cook it at all one day, but overcook it? Never!
Have a nice day at work, everybody!
Mini Tuna Nicoise (enough for a starter or a midday meal for someone who’s not particularly used to eating lunch)
- 1 small tuna steak (100g or so), griddled to rare (or practially raw if, like myself, you’re that way inclined)
- a small handful frisee lettuce
- 5 or 6 green beans, steamed until just cooked and cut in half)
- Around 10 black pitted olives, halved
- 2 or 3 baby new potatoes, cooked and halved
- 3 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 soft boiled quails’ eggs, peeled and halved
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinaigrette
- 2 extra tablespoons balsamic vinegar, reduced to a thick syrup.
Toss the lettuce, beans, olives and potatoes in the vinigrette dressing. Pile into the center of a large, flat serving plate. Balance the tuna teak on top. Arrange the tomatoes and quail egg pieces around the main salad and drizzle the balsamic reduction around it.