Local Albacore Crudo With Balsamic and Fried Sea Beans

Tuna Crudo

This is a dish that I made at the last Wild Kitchen Dinner.  Crudo is essentially raw fish, often made with halibut or tuna.  There was some really nice local albacore coming in from the coast, so I decided on that. Albacore is a smaller tuna, and so has less mercury than the larger varities  From there you can be really creative with what you do with it.  Up at Contigo we do a really simple one with olive oil, lime juice, and course sea salt.

This was my only dish for the night (Ellen, our guest chef and a friend of mine, who goes by the name of Radical Radish), did most of the cooking, and did a really great job in my opinion. As we were plating I still hadn’t figured out what I was going to do with the crudo.  At first I wanted to have a small green salad with a simple vinegrette, but realized that overwhelmed the fish, then I was going with a bed of onions with paprika, but that didn’t really go with the rest of the meal. As the plates were being set out for me to fill, I decided on a bed of red onions with rough chopped snap peas, a splash of balsamic, course sea salt, with the fish tossed in foraged lemon juice and EVOO, and cilantro…then we forgot the cilantro. People seemed to like it though,and that’s what matters in the end.  Be creative with this, make it your own, it’s half the fun of cooking.  I really like how the pungency of the onions offsets the richness of the tuna, with the acid of the lemons slightly cooking the fish as you plate.

Serves 4

6 oz very fresh albacore filet cut into 1/4 x 2 inch pieces (more on this later).  You can use tuna steak if need be, but cutting straight of a filet is better

1 bunch cilantro

2 large red onions

balsamic vinegar

1 Cup fresh snap peas, cleaned of strings

EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

Course Sea Salt

The hardest part of making crudo is cutting the fish.  If you do it wrong, you destroy the fish, and what you up with is albacore mash, rather than delicate delicious slices of tuna.  I’ve heard you can get your fishmonger (I try to use that word as much as possible) cut it up for you.  If you do, tell him what you’re using it for, and he’ll probably know what you want.  If you want to learn some new technique, try buying some, and if you have a nice fishmonger (again with that great word), ask him to show you.

The basic technique is….actually pretty hard to explain, but the general idea is that rather than letting the fish buckle under the pressure of your knife, you want to slice through cleanly, letting the knife do the work.

1.Place filet on cutting board perpendicular to you,with head (large) side facing in the direction of your non-dominant hand.

2. Apply pressure with your non-dominant palm to base of filet (your hand should be horizontal to the cutting board), pushing towards the tail of the fish.

3. Using a very long, sharp knife, starting with the back of the knife at the forward (closer to you) edge of the filet, make long, sure cuts 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Don’t push down, let the knife do the work.

I should have pictures for this process, if I was reading this I would be completely confused, but try it out, and if you have questions please let me know. Now back to the recipe….

1. Cut fish into 1.5 oz portions (this is about 2 good sized slices), and put aside on ice.  This is also a good time to get the seabans cooking, as you’ll want them to cool a bit before serving.

1. Clean seabeans, by removing any brown bits towards the bottom of the plant

2. Dice 3 cloves garlic, cook over medium heat until aromatic, throw in seabeans, add freshly ground                    pepper to taste. Cook for 4-5 minutes, until the seabeans start to color a bit, and lose some of their                    saltiness.

2. Using a mandoline or sharp knife, slice red onion into large, very thin slices.

3. Cut snap peas (in shell), into 1/2 inch slices

4. Pull cilantro leaves off stems

5. Make a bed of red onions on each plate, and place a dash of balsamic into the middle of each, followed by a small handfull of the peas

6. In a small mixing bowl, mix 1 serving of tuna with lemon juice and olive oil, more oil than lemon, but the   ratio is really to your taste

7. Place tuna on center of plate, sprinkle with a couple grains of course sea salt, and shower plate with cilantro leaves.

8. Place a small serving of seabeans on the side of the plate. Repeat. Serve. Eat.

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