In which the world of culinary hedonism is explored with a cup and a half of curiosity, a heaping tablespoon of passion and a dash of clumsiness.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Twenty-ninth post ~ Apricot and Balsamic Glazed Tuna Steak

I could cry.

I could, but I won't, because in the grand scheme of possible disappointments in one's life, this really isn't THAT significant.

But it still renders me wanting to scream and cry a little and swing my fists in manner of a spoiled three-year-old.

I cooked a meal tonight that I would consider one of my best dinners. I don't say that in an arrogant "Oh, my cooking is so good" kind of way. I say it because it was one of those meals where everything came together perfectly. I got a piece of meat that I normally never would have spent the money on, researched how to cook it so as not to ruin it, managed to carry out said painstaking method, served the meal with a perfect wine pairing, photographed it, prepared to blog about it...

And my camera disk was corrupted.

So I can tell you about tonight's meal, but there won't be any pretty pictures to go along with it. Nothing to draw your eye. Nothing to prove it was real. Nothing, nothing, nothing but the memory.

Here we go:

I found a .40 lb wild-caught tuna steak at Wegmans. This fish had spent its life cruising around the shores of Ecuador before it landed happily in my cart, half-price because it needed to be consumed in two days. So I got an $8 piece of fish for $4. Bargain!

I researched how to cook tuna. I guess it's temperamental because it can dry out very easily. So I created a balsamic glaze. Here's what you'll need to make tonight's dinner:

~ Tuna steak
~ Balsamic vinegar
~ Apricot jam
~ Garlic (one clove)
~ Pepper
~ Olive oil
~ Fresh rosemary

Before you turn on the heat, pour a larger-than-normal dollop of oil into your pan. Swirl in a bit of Balsamic vinegar. Place a good tablespoon and a half of apricot jam into the oil and vinegar - trust me. Place a sprig of rosemary in the whole thing. Pepper it. Thinly slice a clove of garlic and add that. NOW start it heating on a low flame.

Take the tuna out of the package. Revel in its texture and weight! Rub a bit of oil into the fish. Turn the heat down - waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down. Place the tuna into the pan on top of the sprig of rosemary. Keep the heat very, very low. If you're using gas, keep the flame at that point where just a little less would extinguish it completely.

Move the tuna around the pan, turning it occasionally. Each time you turn it, spoon some of the sauce over it. Initially, the sauce is going to be kind of lumpy and separate. As it cooks, it will meld beautifully, turning into a concentrated, sweet glaze. Some people like their tuna completely uncooked in the center. Some like it cooked through. I'm right in the middle, liking the center not sushi-like, but not cooked through, either. This cooking method takes a bit of time and patience. Don't be tempted to turn the heat up to cook it faster; from what I've read, this will only dry out the fish.

Serve with whatever side you want; it won't really matter anyway next to an awesome, wild-caught piece of fish!

I debated about what wine to serve. Some say a good chard, others recommend a light and fruity pinot noir. I poured a bit of a South African chardonnay by Indaba and a bit of a shiraz by Cudgee Creek of Australia. The chardonnay won by a long shot. Don't get me wrong - the shiraz is wonderful (I drank it last night with the hard-to-pair meal of tortillas and fresh salsa with hamburgers - which, to my dad's horror, I topped with goat cheese) but with this meal it was overpowering. The chardonnay, on the other hand, was fruity to match the apricot in the glaze and played up the wonderfully fresh notes of the fish.

Sadly, the meal has disappeared with little left of it but the memory - but perhaps this post will serve to memorialize it... and I could always make it again, for the sole purpose of taking another photo... hmm... this could work!

Yours in the love of good food and wine and their fleeting existance,

The blogger is not an experienced chef. She takes no responsibility for the quality of the meals prepared while following her advice. Use your own judgment regarding cooking times and proper food handling.