fennel-grilled tuna, fennel flowers; grilled eggplant, tomato


I pretty much hate Xmas, but I can’t help think of that hugely overworked holiday when I look at the picture above.


On the other hand this tuna preparation has become another year-round classic for the 2 of us, although there are subtle variations each time, and it’s one which becomes easier to put together with each outing. The eggplant the accompanying vegetable, is also open to an almost infinite number of possibilities, each of them as simple to prepare as the fish.

  • two 7-ounce tuna steaks from P.E. & D.D. Seafood, rubbed top and bottom with a mixture of dry Italian fennel seed and a little dried Itria-Sirissi chilis (peperoncino di Sardegna intero) from Buon Italia, which had  been ground together in a mortar-and-pestle, the surfaces of the tuna additionally seasoned with salt, and pepper, the steaks pan-grilled for only a little more than a minute or so on each side, finished with a good squeeze of lemon, scattered with fresh fennel flowers from Rise & Root Farm, and drizzled with a very good olive oil
  • one Sicilian (heirloom) eggplant, from Norwich Meadows Farm, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds, brushed with olive oil, chopped garlic form Race Farm, chopped peppermint from Lani’s Farm, salt, and pepper, pan grilled, turning 3 times, removed to a platter, a which time more than a handful of small cherry tomatoes from Stokes Farm were introduced to the hot grill, the tomatoes then shoveled about the ridges until they had softened just a bit, eggplant and tomatoes sprinkled with more chopped mint and brushed with good olive oil, drizzled with a bit of lemon juice and a little olive oil, then put aside to rest for a short while at room temperature while the tuna was grilled
  • the wine was an Italian (Sardinia) white, S’elegas Nuragus di Cagliari DOC 2014


[the image at the bottom, of the 21 or 22-year-old Henze, was taken in 1958 by Herbert List, and it’s from Magnum Photos]