Sunday, July 17, 2005

Tuna For A Little Girl

isn't that just gorgeous? I found it on ebay when I was looking for a book. It was published in 1919 and I would love to read it - but $99 is too much I think. I will keep a lookout in second hand bookstores from now on - it's always good to have a book to scour for!

Would you believe today was the first time I cooked tuna that didn’t come from a can? My goodness. And it was good. I was a bit dubious, since the tuna steaks had been sitting in the fridge from yesterday, when we scooped a bargain at the markets. I was picking up my chicken and told Figman to go check out the fish stand next door to see what he wanted (he is the seafood king in our household – I only dabble). It was about 3.30 and the family that runs it were starting to clear out some of the fish but the bargain hunting hordes had not yet descended. There was a tray of garfish fillets (which I love) and tuna. Now a tray usually costs $5, but I could NOT believe that 3 big pieces of red raw sashimi tuna could cost only $5. To be clear here, one piece was a main meal size. Now we had half a kilo of whitebait, 2 cleaned whole flathead, a tray of delicate garfish fillets and 3 tuna steaks. All for $23.50.

When we got home, Figman was starving, so he fired up the barbeque and fried the whitebait on that, with just some garlic and salt. He found a lemon on the tree and squeezed it over. They were hot, crispy and delicious. Even the Plumbaby ate them, whole and tasty.

The garfish, I dusted very lightly with Turkish spice and just a spoonful of flour. Fried quickly in the pan and served up to Figman, who had been working hard in the garden, with toasted sourdough and rocket salad. Oh, and a beer, of course.

Now what was I writing about? Tuna. Donna Hay, in her various cookbooks, is always banging on about seared tuna. Frankly, it seemed to me that she never shut up about the stuff. But when I actually flicked through the 3 cookbooks of hers which grace my shelves, there weren’t that many recipes – sometimes only a couple per book. Clearly, I was oversensitive on the subject and had completely misjudged her.

I found one recipe that seemed simple enough and I could cope with the ingredients – one of the problems of market based cooking is that I come home with the freshest seasonal produce but don’t always have the accompaniments by the time I decide what I’m going to cook. I whipped up the marinade, wasabi, soy sauce and mirin and plonked the tuna in it for 10 minutes. I washed the rest of the rocket, sliced some spring onions and attempted to make the accompanying asian salad dressing. It tasted vile, but this was undoubtedly my fault for trying out some new inexpensive sesame oil which tasted more like petroleum. I abandoned the dressing and decided to make do with pepper and olive oil instead.

I heated up the fry pan and added a swirl of oil. Figman’s 2 steaks went in. Now the recipe said 5 seconds per side, but even he thought this was overdoing it. It was more like 15 or 20 and he said his were perfect. I had a little taste and the texture was wonderful but I was too gutless to cook mine like that. If the fish had been fresh that day, yes, but not when it had been sitting around in the fridge all night and was now a dark brown colour instead of the glorious red. So I cooked mine until almost done and by the time I ate it, it was just cooked all the way through. Still tasty but not as sumptuous. Next time, though ….


Post a Comment

<< Home