This month is Tuna Niçoise (for 4 people) with Jukes 8.
There are a hundred different recipes for a Salad Niçoise and while this is a dish that I usually enjoy, there are a number of areas that can let this Provençal classic down. I prefer to remove all of the possible pitfalls by deconstructing this famous dish somewhat in order to allow guests to assemble their own. This has the added benefit of ensuring that the anti-anchovy brigade can also enjoy your creation, too. This is one of the most delicious recipes to enjoy with our summer classic Jukes 8.
4 Sushi-grade tuna steaks 3cm thick
Extra virgin Olive oil
Good quality Red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp Fennel seeds - ground in a pestle and mortar
1 Garlic clove - finely chopped
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
A good few sprigs of fresh Thyme - remove the woody parts
4 Eggs - soft boiled and shelled
Potatoes - boiled and sliced
French green beans - boiled and iced
8 Tomatoes, the best you can find - sliced
200g Anchovy fillets - I like the Ortiz brand best
Black olives – pitted
First, make the marinade for the tuna steaks. In a mixing bowl combine the extra virgin olive oil, the ground fennel seeds, chopped garlic, thyme, salt and pepper and gently whisk it together. Then coat the steaks and set them aside for an hour to absorb the flavours.
Boil the potatoes and then chop them into 1-2cm ‘rounds’ and put them in a small bowl ready for service – they can be served cool/warm.
Lower your fridge-cold eggs carefully into a pan of boiling water and cook for eight minutes. Remove the eggs from the pan, crack them to stop them cooking any further and place them in a bowl of cold water. Carefully take off the shells. At the last minute before service, cut them in half and put them on a serving plate (they should be par-boiled).
Strain the anchovies of their oil and put them in a bowl, too.
Boil the green beans until they are crunchy but not overcooked (just a minute or two), strain them and chill them down with cold water so they retain their colour and bite. Put these in a serving bowl with the sliced tomatoes and halved olives.
Make a simple vinaigrette with red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, a touch of Dijon mustard, salt and pepper to your taste and dress the beans and tomatoes.
Finally, place your tuna steaks on a smoking-hot griddle pan grill pan and cook them for 30 seconds to a minute on each side (depending on how rare you like your tuna). Remove them from the griddle pan and allow them to settle for a few minutes, the centre of each steak should be bright pink.
Using a very sharp knife, thinly slice the steaks and serve them warm with a squeeze of lemon on top with all of the accompaniments alongside for your guests to combine to their taste.