When you cook a lot, you learn to work around the ever-present possibility of some sort of fiasco – or at least, I have. Cuts, burns, ruined rice or a repeat of the Great Pesto-Tastrophe of 2005 (we had pesto on the ceiling – I kid you not) are always a specter looming over my kitchen. I’m never entirely surprised by misfortune in the kitchen and I’m not really fazed by it at this point. My husband, however, still comes running whenever I say “ouch” and worries over the possibility of injuries that really just make me feel like a true chef. Last week I got bitten by my bread knife (again – can’t stand that thing) and the one good thing that came of it is that hubby wouldn’t let me do anything except for sit on the couch and drink the tea that he would make for me. All in all, it was a pretty relaxing injury! But that evening I had planned a grilled tuna salad and we had already bought fresh tuna for it; obviously, we had to eat the tuna and we had to eat it right away. So we did what any seafood-loving couple would do when the cooking half is grievously injured – the hubs cooked dinner while I drank wine and shouted instructions from the living room. It turned out delicious – rich tuna, creamy avocado and a tart dressing. What more can you ask for? Except, of course, for the ability to do the cooking yourself.
Grilled Tuna Salad
2 fresh tuna steaks
extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt and fresh black pepper
grated zest of 2 lemons
6 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons soy sauce
10 dashes hot sauce
2 firm but ripe avocados, cubed
1/4 cup minced scallions
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
- Grill the tuna steaks briefly, until just seared on the outside but still raw inside. Remove from grill and allow to cool slightly before cutting tuna into large bite-sized cubes.
- In a small bowl, whisk together extra-virgin olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, soy sauce, hot sauce, kosher salt and pepper to taste. Toss the avocados in the dressing, then arrange on individual plates. Top with tuna cubes and sprinkle with scallions and black sesame seeds.
Source: Adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home, by Ina Garten
Wine Pairing: This is a very summery dish to me, with a lovely richness that is counterbalanced by the tart dressing – so you could choose a wine to complement either characteristic. A nice Viognier from Virginia would stand up well. Or you might choose to echo the tart notes from the dressing with a Vinho Verde – that would be my choice. And, of course, you could always go with a Spanish rose – just be sure to be eating this dinner outside with candles and flowers if you go that route!