Thursday, June 13, 2013

Mint & Mustard Crusted Ahi Tuna over Spiced Lentils

Mint & Mustard Crusted Ahi Tuna over Spiced Lentils
(for two)

North African flavors bring warmth and excitement to this dish. Mint and whole grain mustard come together to create a bright tasting crust for the tuna steaks. The warm spices in the lentils produce an aromatic and generously flavorful accompaniment, bringing succulent balance to the overall meal.

Mint & Mustard Crusted Ahi Tuna:

-1/4 cup whole grain mustard
- Small handful fresh mint leaves
- ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Salt for sprinkling on Tuna

Spiced Lentils:

-1 cup brown lentils
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1 small onion
- 1 generous handful baby carrots
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 large garlic cloves (minced or pressed)
- Zest of 1 whole lemon
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Handful fresh flat leaf Italian Parsley (coarsely chopped)
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon caraway seeds
- Sprinkle of nutmeg (to your taste)
- Sprinkle of cinnamon (to your taste)
- ¾ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- Olive oil for the pan

Dice the onion, carrots and red bell pepper into small pieces.

Stack the mint leaves on top of each other, then roll tightly and slice into thin ribbons crosswise (this kind of knife cut is called a chiffonade). Cut the thin slices in half.

Put the mustard into a measuring cup, add the sliced mint, coriander, salt, pepper and olive oil. Stir to combine.

Place the tuna steaks into a square glass baking dish and sprinkle both sides of each steak with salt. Distribute the marinade evenly between the two steaks, coating both sides of each one. Set aside to marinate until you are ready to cook them.

Heat some olive oil in a medium saucepan, over medium heat, then add the diced onion and carrot. Cook until softened.

Add the cumin, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, and caraway seeds stirring to combine.

Add the garlic and red bell pepper. Cook for about 30 seconds and then add the water.

As the water comes to a simmer add the lemon zest, lemon juice and chopped parsley.

Pour the lentils into the pan, stir and cover. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for about 30 minutes or until the lentils are tender, not hard. When the lentils have finished cooking, salt them to your desired taste (about ¾ teaspoon of salt).

When the lentils are nearing the end of their cooking time, heat some olive oil, over medium heat, in a cast iron skillet or the skillet of your choice.

Gently place the tuna steaks into the hot pan. Cook until you see the bottom of the steaks turning light,as you see in the picture below (about 30 seconds), then flip and repeat on the other side. You may lose some of your “mint & mustard crust” in the process of flipping the steaks, but don’t worry, just replace it as best you can.

The steaks should be cooked medium-rare; light on the top and bottom and dark in the middle. Remove from the pan and set them aside on a plate, to rest until serving.

To serve: Make a “mound” or small “hill” of lentils in the center of your plate. Slice the tuna steaks thinly (do not use a serrated knife, doing so will result in frazzled meat). Fan out the slices on the plate, leaning them up against the side of the lentils. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint and enjoy with a leafy green salad!

1 comment:

  1. **Important Note: If you decide to use a regular skillet (instead of cast iron) to sear the tuna, you will need to use higher heat. Heat your skillet on medium-high to high heat (you want it very hot) and cook the tuna for about 30 seconds to 1 minute per side. You want the tuna to be medium-rare to rare; anything more and the flavor and texture of the meat will be compromised.