Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Walking Dead S3E7 - Grilled Tuna with Potato-Tomato Gratin

I'm so behind in blogging that I'm ashamed of myself. The Walking Dead has been over for weeks! Well, two weeks ... but still. And this is still for the episode before the midseason finale. And what a midseason finale it was. Hopefully they get rid of unreasonably angry women in the second half of the season.

Dinner was from Sunday Suppers at Lucques. It took a bit of preparation ahead of time but for the most part, everything came together pretty quickly. The gratin had to bake for almost three hours so definitely prepare for that if you want to make this dish!

Maybe I did something wrong but the gratin was a bit more watery than I would have liked. Anyone know what I did wrong? I think the tomatoes just have a lot of juice. Maybe I need to bake everything longer or seed the tomatoes first or just use less tomatoes.

The hunt for ahi tuna to sear was also an adventure. I first went to Whole Foods and ahi tuna was on sale for ...wait for it ... drum roll please ... $39.99 a pound. I almost fainted. Then I went to Trader Joe's and they were being sold for $16.99 a pound, which was a lot more reasonable. But the tuna wasn't too tender after being seared. I guess the more expensive quality does make a difference!

gratin onions being caramelized

onions caramelized

tomato, potato, onion and basil layering in progress

layered and ready for baking

Potato-Tomato Gratin
serves 6

5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
6 cups thinly sliced onions
1 Tbsp thyme leaves
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/4 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 1/4 lbs ripe tomatoes
1/4 cup sliced opal basil (I used regular)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat a large sautee pan or Dutch oven over high heat for 2 minutes. Swirl in 3 Tbsp olive oil, and add the onions, 1 Tbsp thyme, 1 tsp salt, and some pepper. Cook 6 minutes, stirring often, and then turn the heat down to medium, Add the butter, and cook 15 minutes, stirring and scraping with a wooden spoon, until the onions start to caramelize. Turn the heat down to low, and continue cooking for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until the onions are a deep golden brown. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350degreesF.

Use a mandoline to slice the potatoes into 1/8-inch-thick rounds. Toss them with the cream, 1 tsp thyme, 1 tsp salt, and some freshly ground black pepper.

Cut the tomatoes into 1/4-inch-thick slices, arrange them on a plate, and season them with 1 tsp salt and some pepper.

Place half the caramelized onions in an even layer in a 9x9 inch gratin or baking dish. Arrange one layer of alternating potatoes and tomatoes on top of the onion layer. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp of the cream from the potatoes and 1 Tbsp olive oil. Season with 1/4 tsp salt, a healthy pinch of pepper, 1/2 tsp thyme and half the basil.

Scatter the rest of the caramelized onions over the potatoes and tomatoes.

Arrange another layer of potatoes and tomatoes on topl make this layer pretty, because it will be the top of your gratin. Pour the remaining cream (from the potatoes) and remaining Tbsp olive oil over the potatoes and tomatoes. Season with 1/4 tsp salt, a pinch of pepper, the remaining 1/2 tsp thyme, and the remaining basil. Press the vegetables down with your fingers. The cream and oil will come u p through the layers and coat the vegetables evenly.

Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake about 2 hours, until the potatoes are tender when pierced. Remove the gratin from the oven and uncover it, being careful of the steam.

Turn the oven up to 450degreesF and return the gratin, uncovered, to the oven. Cook another 25-30 minutes, until the juices have thickened and the top is nice and golden brown (as in "gratinéed").

grilled tuna over arugula

perfectly seared on the inside

Grilled Tuna
serves 6

6 tuna steaks, 5 to 6 oz each, about 1 inch thick
1 lemon, zested
1 chile de √°rbol, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 Tbsp thyme leaves
1 Tbsp sliced flat lead parsley
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp fleur de sel
1 Tbsp freshly cracked black pepper
2 oz arugula, cleaned
2 Tbsp super good extra-virgin olive oil

Season the fish with the lemon zest, chile, thyme and parsley. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.

Light the grill 30 to 40 mintues before cooking, and remove the fish from the refrigerator to come to room temperature. Alternately, use an indoor grill pan over high heat.

When the coals are broken down, red, and glowing, brush the fish with olive oil, and season on both sides with fleur de sel and cracked black epper. Grill the fish 2-3 minutes per side, rotating it once or twice. The tuna should be well seared but still rare.

Scatter the arugula onto a large platter and arrange the tuna on top. Squeeze some lemon juice over the fish, and then drizzle the fish with the super good olive oil. Dollop each piece of fish with rouille (I didn't make the rouille but the recipe is available in the book).

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