I was excited to discover a beautiful piece of fresh tuna in the store, and didn’t let the fact that I had never cooked this particular fish before, deter me from purchasing it and bringing it home. Unfortunately, in my enthusiasm and inexperience, I think I overcooked it, but the flavorful dressing and gorgeous Manchego cheese disguised my failure, and my sweet husband didn’t say a word of complaint.
GRILLED TUNA WITH FRIED MANCHEGO
1 tomato, finely diced
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon shallot, finely chopped
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
1 teaspoon honey
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup olive oil
1 tuna steak, about 1 1/2 inches thick
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup flour
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
wedge of Manchego cheese, sliced 1/4 inch thick and cut into triangles
chopped romaine lettuce
In a large bowl, mix the diced tomato with the white wine vinegar, shallot, thyme, honey, garlic, crushed red pepper and the olive oil until emulsified. Season the tomato vinaigrette generously with salt.
Heat a pan and brush with olive oil. Brush the tuna steak with olive oil and season it with salt and pepper. Cook the tuna over moderately high heat, turning until seared on the outside. Let the tuna rest for 5 minutes, then cut into slices.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in large skillet until shimmering. Put the flour, egg and bread crumbs in 3 shallow bowls. Dip the cheese triangles in the flour, then in the egg and finally in the bread crumbs. Add the cheese to the hot oil and fry until golden and crisp, turning once. Drain the fried Manchego and sprinkle lightly with salt.
Add the romaine to the vinaigrette in the bowl and toss well. Mound the dressed salad onto large plates. Arrange the tuna slices on the plates and stack the fried manchego slices on the plates.
Recipe adapted from Food and Wine, September 2006