July 6, 2008
The beginning of July kicked off Tuna season on the Eastern tip of Long Island. We landed at JFK on July 1 with Gucci sunglasses and Manolo boat shoes. The helicopter whisked us off to Montauk. I chartered a two day trip to The Canyons where the big boys bite. Jennifer decided to forage for fresh vegetables in a blue and white striped number.
I landed a goodly-sized Bluefin, just slightly larger than the 60 foot fishing yacht we were aboard. A carrier gull brought the news to Jennifer.
She found wild greens and turmeric root in the forest. When her blue and white stripes emerged from the edge of the woods into a meadow filled with wildflowers, she found an organic farmer who was more than happy to dig baby potatoes while her dress floated on the breeze.
Jennifer mentioned the farmer’s daughter was cute, David. You could pick her up on the way to Montauk when you try this dish. Makes for a great 4th of July cookout or Labor Day garden party. Tuna season is on through the beginning of October.
Grilled Yellowfin Tuna and Just Dug Potato Salad with Tarragon Aioli
Serves you, David and 3 natural beauties
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon fresh grated turmeric root
Minced habanero for garnish
Fresh squeezed lime for garnish
Heat the seeds on medium in a cast iron skillet until fragrant. Remove and grind in your spice mortar. Add the turmeric root and a tablespoon of olive oil Rub the tuna steaks with the spice mixture, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
1/2 cup Sweet Sicilian olive oil
1 farm fresh egg yolk
1 clove crushed garlic
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons tarragon cut fine with your herb shears
Zest of lemon
Pinch or two of salt
Don’t bother coddling the egg. If you using a farm fresh egg, you’ll have no worries. You’ll know it’s good when you crack and separate it.
Mix the egg yolk, lemon juice and mustard in a bowl. In the tiniest, slowest stream, whisk in the olive oil. If the olive oil doesn’t completely combine with the egg, stop pouring and keep whisking. When combined, continue whisking and pouring in a slow steady stream until thick.
Add the crushed garlic and salt. Cover and store in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
The Potato Salad
2 pounds of just dug baby potatoes, mixed varietals and colors
1 bunch of spring shallots, trimmed and minced
A hand full of basil leaves, sheared
Bring a large pot of spring water to a boil. Cut the cute little baby potatoes in half. Add the potatoes to the pot and simmer boil for about 7 to 10 minutes or until fork tender, not mushy.
Submerge the potatoes in a bowl of iced spring water to stop the cooking and then allow to rest and cool for several minutes.
Toss the potatoes, spring shallots and aioli. Add the basil and toss once more.
When your potato salad is ready to go, throw the tuna on the grill. Cook for about 2 minutes per side, then remove from the grill and cut the steak in half. If you like it slightly less rare, put in back on the grill for no more than 1 minute per side Whatever you do, don’t turn this fresh fish into shoe leather.
Mound the potato salad on the plate, top with tuna steak and garnish with wild baby greens. Squeeze a little lime juice and fleck the tuna steak with minced habanero. Pour a glass of Nero D’Avola or a Belgian Blanche. Cheers.