Friday, May 17, 2013

"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.

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