"How Shall I Creatively Serve Seared Tuna?"
-- The simple question preceding a landslide.
Concise, decisive and efficient.
Three nice and tidy words that are everything but. Arriving at these concepts in real life is messy, confusing and time-consuming. When you throw in a hefty dose of perfectionist anxiety you get nothing. That's right, you are paralyzed by the thought of each projected avenue leading you through a maze of failure. So you do nothing.
Then you call your Mom.
My food supply must be consumed.
I cannot take it with me and I refuse to waste it. This is resulting in some creative cooking. Slowly frozen meats are moved to the refrigerator to thaw while I come up with a new method of using them. Just as it's no fun to take the same photograph over and over, it's no fun to make the same dinner repeatedly.
A local grocery store sells individual, frozen fillets of sushi grade Ahi tuna which was quite a surprise when I discovered them shortly after moving to an area close to a food desert. I have made them before with ginger/cilantro/soy sauce as well as an incredible cashew-tamarind sauce. Without those ingredients on hand I got creative.
My most used reference book is "What to Drink With What You Eat". Seriously. I had purchased two bottles of wine to celebrate, Gloria Ferrer's Blanc de Blancs and McPerson's Viogner. Knowing these would both work with seared tuna I referenced the book to explore other complementary flavors. Then I went to the kitchen with inspiration and an appetite.
So, how shall I creatively serve seared tuna?
Why, with delicate sauces on the side of course, as seen so often on "Chopped" the Food Network's cooking competition show I watched during lunch breaks at work.
I used cannellini beans as a base for the first sauce and blended them with soy sauce, sesame oil and wasabi paste until reaching the desired flavor. My dining partner has a delicate palate so I made sure it was not too intense while still firmly representing each flavor. The second sauce incorporated some leftover corn/cajun rice mix (an entire post worth writing) seasoned with coriander and curry spices. I added a few beans and a touch of chicken broth to reach a nice consistency and also took care not to make it too spicy. This was the mutual favorite of the two sauces; the first was a bit flat even with it's well-balanced blend of flavor. It needs a touch of oomph, but I'm not sure what. The corn/coriander/curry blend was delightful! The sweet, fresh corn played well with the spices and it's a combination I will remember for future uses. Along side the tuna I spread a warm scoop of corn/rice/beans to add some substance.
Both wines went well with the dinner as a whole, though the viogner did not stand up to the wasabi sauce I expected it to. In general, they are both easy wines to serve with food or without.