I never thought that almost-raw tuna could be considered a comfort food, but I’m coming around. On busy weeknights (and even the odd weekday lunch when L and I sneak home for a bite) this straight-forward dish is a light and elegant meal that I find myself craving.
Done right, tuna is a rich but healthy treat. I grill it on the stove-top grill for a few minutes either side. You can pan sear it or put it on the barbecue as well, but just don’t overdo it. It’s hard to resist the extra few minutes because you (I, at least) can’t believe it’s fully cooked.
But it’s not fully cooked, and that’s why you buy sushi-grade tuna; it should only be cooked at the edges. The middle is a creamy, but not fishy, semi-raw delight. “Blue” they call it in the restaurants, even though it’s red.
This dish is something I made up for a surprise lunch for L. She loved it so much that it has become a regular meal around our house.
Tuna with rice vermicelli, baby bok choy and two peppers (red and yellow – for colour).
Start the grill, heat a pan or, check the barbecue to ensure the coals are white and still very hot.
Put a large pot of lightly salted water on to boil.
Roll the edges of the tuna (it should be an inch, preferably 1 and 1/2 inches thick, and very fresh) in poppy seeds or, ground black pepper and rub all over with a little olive oil. Salt lightly.
Cut the baby bok choy in half and wash well. Cut the peppers into half-inch slivers.
Whisk a few tablespoons of olive or canola oil with a splash of rice wine vinegar and some soy sauce (roughly equal to the rice wine vinegar).
Place the vegetables in a large colander and place the colander on the pot (no need to cover).
Let the vegetables steam for half a minute or so and then put the tuna on to cook. You don’t want it to overcook so turn it after a minute or so. Then turn it again a minute later. Two minutes or so per side should do it and it you turn it, you’ll get nice grill marks.
When the tuna is done (it should be very red except for a quarter inch or so on the outside), set it aside and toss a handful of rice vermicelli into the pot. Turn off the heat.
Slice a few slices of lemon and place on the grill.
After a minute or so, remove the noodles and divide into bowls. Arrange the vegetables on top and drizzle with the dressing. Place the tuna on top and garnish with grilled lemon slices.
Then, see if you can resist making in again.