Sunday, September 28, 2008

dinner to wow your friends

grilled tuna over white bean puree with roasted tomatoes

while looking over my pile of garden goods, i tried to figure out how to use things in dishes other than spicy egg scramble. i hadn't been to the grocery store (which seems like a theme in these posts, but i swear i do go there quite often. it must be that my best dishes, those "worth" blogging about, come from random recipes that i match with items already in my pantry.)  and so i was searching for something to do with tuna and tomatoes. i've been trying to branch out in the fish world, making new recipes that include more than rice, veggies and dill and lemon salmon. i came across this and since everything but the tapenade could be found in my house, i forged ahead. in all honesty, i really don't think i could put olives with fish yet, even though i love me some olives. 

garlic-y white bean puree

now i know the recipe seems long and involved, but it's not. it's very simple and just has few steps per element...and trust me, it's totally worth it. i'll break down each part.

white bean puree (adapted from a tyler florence recipe)
1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cans white cannellini beans, drained
1/2 to 3/4 c chicken stock, heated
2 tsp white wine vinegar
kosher salt and ground pepper

1. heat olive oil over a medium fame, add garlic and sweat for 1 minute
2. add the beans followed by the warm chicken stock and cook until thoroughly warm
3. transfer to a food processor and puree with white wine vinegar, salt, and pepper
4. add extra chicken stock to thin if necessary
5. set aside and keep warm

roasted tomatoes with orange chili oil

roasted tomatoes and orange chili oil (adapted from a tyler florence recipe)
4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves chopped
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves chopped
1 1/2 tbsp dried red chili flakes
1-2 tbsp orange marmalade
1 1/2 c olive oil
15 or so cherry or grape tomatoes

1. heat oil and add thyme, rosemary, chili flakes and marmalade
2. cook on low for 5 minutes and cool slightly
(the original recipe does not include cooking, but i didn't have an hour to wait for natural infusion)
3. lay out tomatoes on a roasting pan or cookie sheet
4. drizzle with orange chili oil and roast in oven for 8-10 minute until tomatoes are wilted and slightly burst

easy grilled tuna

sear the tuna over a hot grill pan, cooking for 45 seconds to a minute on each side. if you're like me, you bought tuna from trader joe's and it really isn't fit for searing with a rare center. you can go ahead and cook that all the way through. just don't tell tyler florence. to flavor, i drizzled the fish with olive oil and added salt, pepper, and a sprig of thyme. i used my griddler press to cook both sides at once.

assembling the dish

the assembly is part of the "wow" factor. how often do you put everything in the center of your plate, all dressed up and fancy looking? since i usually make meat, starch, and veggie dinners and i don't like to mix them together, my answer is next to never. but this stuff is meant to be layered. so spoon a generous portion of the puree onto a plate and carefully place the fish atop that garlic-y goodness. then add tomatoes and a bit of the juices and oil mixture over the fish.

ta-da! a dish fit for a restaurant

i'm not kidding, this was amazing. it really was easy and tasted like a real restaurant quality meal. good layer of flavors and if the fish had been more expensive, i would have served this for guests. and trust me when i tell you that i practically licked my plate clean of white bean puree. and then i licked the food processor clean. i'm going to turn that recipe  into a white bean soup it was so good. and i was right when i thought olives just don't fit here. the spicy chili oil and the creamy garlic beans were the right flavor match for the basic fish and i don't see myself liking a tapenade in this dish. but i do see myself making this again.