fennel-grilled tuna; tomatoes; treviso with balsamic, lovage

We’re really crazy about tuna steaks prepared this easy way, and I don’t object to the fact it’s simpler than pie to do. What surprised me this time was how formidable a rival the vegetable accompaniment I’d chosen turned out to be. It too could hardly have been easier to prepare, which was also a surprise, since I normally go through all kinds of contortions to bring out the best in treviso, or any of the other chicories I love so much.

  • two 8-ounce tuna steaks from American Seafood Company, rinsed, dried, seasoned on both sides with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, then rubbed, tops and bottoms, with a mixture of a tablespoon of a wonderful dry Sicilian fennel seed from Buon Italia that had been crushed in a porcelain mortar and pestle along with a little dried peperoncino Calabresi secchi from Buon Italia, ending, also on both sides, with little more than a pinch of dried golden/orange habanada pepper, pan-grilled above a medium-high flame (for only a little more than a minute or so on each side), finished on the plates with a good squeeze of the juice of an organic lemon from Whole Foods Market and a drizzle of olive oil, garnished with micro scallion from Two Guys from Woodbridge
  • a small handful of golden cherry tomatoes from Alex’s Tomato Farm, in Carlisle, New Jersey, at Chelsea’s Down to Earth Farmers Market on 23rd Street, washed, halved, heated inside an antique enameled cast iron porringer in a little olive oil, sea salt, and freshly-ground black pepper, garnished with micro red basil from Two Guys from Woodbridge
  • one very-thinly-sliced spring garlic stem from Berried Treasures Farm or/and one spring red onion from Norwich Meadows Farm (and maybe a small piece of shallot, also from Norwich Meadows Farm), heated in a tablespoon or more of olive oil inside a heavy pan until softened, before 2 medium heads of early, loose-leaf) treviso from Campo Rosso Farm, roughly chopped, added to the pan, along with some sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, stirring all along until the radicchio had mostly wilted, finished with barely a splash of balsamic vinegar and sprinkled with chopped lovage from Two Guys from Woodbridge
  • the wine was a Portuguese (Alentejo) white, Esporao Monte Velho White 2016, from Garnet Wines
  • the music was New Sounds, streaming