Thursday, March 15, 2012

Snapping Turtle Salad

I have been away from the blog for a whole month without even realizing it. The truth of the matter is I have kind of been away from cooking. In the rarest of circumstances I found myself in a situation that was so overwhelming that cooking didn’t even chill me out. Without getting into lots of gory details, the simple answer is that our military family will be once again relocating this summer, and though this has been a given for a while, we were caught in that dead space in the process where you know (or think, or hope) you will move but do not know when. In that space I lost interest in experimenting with new recipes, so we have been eating a lot of roast chicken and pasta and tried and true standbys. And then we got orders. Simply put we know where we are moving next and I could not be more thrilled. And back to the kitchen I go!

It has been unseasonably warm here this week – mid to high-80s warm – so I have been craving something light. And since it has been so nice and daylight savings time is upon us once again I needed something fast so that we can spend as much time outside playing as possible. Hands on time for this recipe was about 15-20 minutes. I served the salad with some homemade potato bread and on a bed of washed baby romaine.

The real name of this dish is Tuna and Cannellini Bean Salad but my oldest pod took one look at it in the bowl tonight and said, “Mom, dinner is as ugly as a snapping turtle. I hope it tastes better than it looks, because it looks gross.” After patiently explaining to him that I didn’t really appreciate that kind of comment, I kind of had to agree. Don’t let appearances fool you though. It will be worth it, I promise.

Couple of notes:

I used sushi grade tuna steaks for this recipe. Since I was going to cut it up into chunks anyway, I asked the fish counter person if they had any left over pieces of tuna that weren’t as pretty, that they might be able to sell me at a better price. In a rush or don’t want to spend the money on tuna steak? You can easily substitute canned tuna, but if you do, I would recommend the Italian tuna packed in olive oil. I can find it in the specialty section at our grocery store but in some of the nicer stores it is in with the regular tuna selection. It comes in nice big chunks, filled with flavor and is very moist.

Don’t like fish? This is one of those dishes that you could throw pretty much anything into. Grill some chicken and throw it in.  Substitute olives for the capers, chickpeas for the cannelloni beans, roasted red peppers for the sun-dried tomatoes – you get the idea.

I grilled my steak indoors on an All-Clad, stove-top grilling pan. The secret to getting a good sear indoors is that same as on an outdoor grill – make sure your pan is good and hot.

I would love to hear what you think and if any of you get a pretty shot of it, send it my way and I will be happy to post it on the blog with full credits to you.

Tuna and Cannellini Bean Salad

1 lb sushi-grade tuna steak
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp butter or olive oil
15 oz can cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained
3 tbsp oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained
2 tbsp capers, drained
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 lemon
1 tomato, roughly chopped
pinch red pepper flake
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Romaine lettuce

Preheat grill or grill pan. Melt butter then add minced garlic. Let butter mixture sit while prepping remaining ingredients. Once the pan is hot, brush both side of steaks with butter mixture and place on the grill. Sear for 3-4 minutes per side, reapplying butter mixture as needed to keep the meat moist. I like to cook the tuna  until the outside is starting to brown but center is still pink, but if you are like The Other Half you will need to add a little time to get to medium. (Watch it carefully though — tuna cooks fairly quickly if your pan is hot enough.)  

In a large bowl combine beans, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, parsley, tomato and the zest of the lemon. Roughly cut the tuna in to chunks and layer on top of the vegetables.

In a separate bowl whisk together the juice of the zested lemon (about 2-3 tbsp), olive oil, salt and pepper, to make a vinaigrette. Pour vinaigrette over the tuna mixture and toss. Serve on a bed of lettuce with fresh bread.



Anonymous said...

This looks like a nice summer alternative to a tuna and cannelloni bean dish I make in the wintertime - similar ingredients, but simmered in orange juice with some orange zest - it comes from one of the Williams Sonoma/Mayo Clinic coobooks...

Nancy said...

I have that cookbook but haven't seen the recipe you are referring to, but I will definitely check that out - sounds yummy with the orange juice. Thanks!