coriander/fennel-grilled tuna steak; heirloom tomato salad

Thanks Mr. Oliver.

Earlier in the day I had been looking around on line for something else, when I came across this video of Jamie Oliver describing how to make a tomato salad. I was a bit taken with his blokey charm, humor, and his physical expressiveness. I watched it through to the end.

At that moment there was a pretty good stash of gorgeous heirloom tomatoes on the windowsill in our breakfast room, and it was clear they weren’t all going to wait around very long. I had already been thinking I’d have to use many of them in the dinner I’d be making that night, and at some point I realized what Mr. Oliver was describing was what I wanted to serve with my entrée.

I actually do own one of his books (‘Jamie’s Italy’, chosen probably for the pic of Jamie and his Cinquecento date on the cover), but now I was interested in what he would have to say about that night’s entrée, a tuna steak I had picked up at our neighborhood greenmarket that afternoon. In the end I didn’t budge much from my go-to formula, but I decided to go with his suggestion of adding coriander seed to the fennel seed mix I always use.

Adding the coriander turned out to be a brilliant move. I’ve decided to try yellow mustard seed next time (my idea, but at least partly inspired by the Jamie breakthrough).

Our complements to the Naked Chef for both our tomatoes and our tuna steaks!

  • one thick tuna steak (11.25 ounces) from American Seafood Company’s stand in our local Chelsea Down to Earth Farmers Market on 23rd Street, rinsed, dried, halved, tops and bottoms seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper and rubbed with a mixture of a little more than a tablespoon of a combination of wonderful dry Sicilian fennel seed from Buon Italia, whole Moroccan coriander seeds from Flatiron Eataly, and a little dried peperoncino Calabresi secchi from Buon Italia, that had all first been crushed together in a porcelain mortar and pestle before the steaks were 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 red micro mustard from Two Guys from Woodbridge
  • several kinds and colors and sizes of ripe heirloom tomatoes (one very large green heirloom tomato from Alewife Farm, another from Eckerton Hill Farm, and a very red plum tomato from Berried Treasures Farm), each cut into large chunks, all placed inside a vintage pyrex mixing bowl (the green one, to be precise), seasoned with sea salt, and a small bit of a red serrano pepper from Central Valley Farm, finely chopped, and a larger aji dulce pepper (not hot) from Eckerton Hill Farm, thinly sliced, a large squeeze of lemon, some Whole Foods Market Portuguese house olive oil, allowed to sit fro a few minutes, then a generous amount of Genoa basil leaves from Willow Wisp Farm tossed in, followed by a small drizzle of balsamic vinegar, the salad tossed together and arranged on the plates
  • the wine was an Italian (Abruzzo) rosé, Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, Sirio 2017, from Astor Wines
  • the music was the album, ‘Sheila Silver: To The Spirit Unconquered’