Saturday, February 15, 2014

Fennel-Crusted Tuna with Wilted Cabbage and Orange-Soy Vinaigrette

I admit that this isn't the most glamorous sounding recipe, but I had faith in this cookbook (and leftover cabbage that I needed to get rid of along with some lovely sashimi-grade tuna). My faith was rewarded with a simple, but wonderfully flavored and elegant dish. While this has a few components, they all come together quickly, making this a good weeknight meal.

One year ago: Crab Quiche
Two years ago: Cabbage and Cucumber Slaw with Roasted Peanuts
Three years ago: Ninfa's Red Sauce
Four years ago: Broccoli, Red Pepper, and Cheese Chowder

Fennel-Crusted Tuna with Wilted Cabbage and Orange-Soy Vinaigrette (from Fish Without a Doubt)

2 tbsp fennel seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp white peppercorns
2 (12 ounce) pieces tuna, about 1 1/2 inches thick
coarse salt
2 tsp vegetable oil
Wilted Cabbage
2 tsp vegetable oil
2/3 lb savoy cabbage, shredded
4 scallions, cut into thin slices
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp water
Orange-Soy Vinaigrette
2 oranges
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
1/3 cup thinly sliced ginger
1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
1 tbsp thinly sliced garlic
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
1/4 cup fumet or chicken stock
1 tsp lemon juice

1. First, make vinaigrette. Juice oranges. Tear or cut the rinds of 1 1/2 oranges into pieces (discard rest).
2. Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp vegetable oil and ginger. Saute for 30 seconds.
3. Add shallots and garlic and saute until fragrant, 30 - 45 seconds.
4. Add orange juice, rinds, soy, and vinegar. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to an active simmer. Cook, pressing down solids, until thick, syrupy and reduced by two-thirds.
5. Add fumet or stock and bring to active simmer. Strain, pressing down the solids. You should have about 1/2 cup.
6. Pour liquid into blender. With blender running, pour in 1/2 cup vegetable oil slowly. Keep running for 30 seconds. Add lemon juice.
7. Now, make the cabbage. Heat vegetable oil in large skillet over medium heat. Turn heat to high, add cabbage and scallions and stir-fry 30 seconds. Add soy sauce and water and stir-fry until cabbage starts to wilt, 1 minute. Remove from heat.
8. Finally, make fish. Combine fennel, coriander, and peppercorns in a spice grinder and grind to powder.
9. Season tuna with salt and coat with ground spices.
10. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Spoon in oil. Add tuna and cook for 45 seconds - 1 minute on each side.
11. Transfer tuna to cutting board and let rest before slicing the tuna.
12. To serve, make a mound of cabbage in 4 dinner plates. Surround cabbage with a ring of vinaigrette. Lay tuna slices on cabbage and serve.

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