Monday, April 21, 2014

How To Customize Your Dinner: A Hatred of Olives

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I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it countless more times: the best thing about cooking is being able to customize any dish to your own taste! This recipe is a perfect example.  My husband and I love fresh tuna and I wanted to present it in a little bit of a different way, so I found a recipe for a basic seared tuna nicoise salad.

Unfortunately we hate olives.

I know, it might be an unpopular admission in the food world, but I've tried so hard to like them!  I think they taste awful and I've tried green, black, stuffed, unstuffed, etc.  I just can't seem to fool my palate into liking them.  This presented me with a problem, not because I couldn't leave out the olives (which I did), but because the dish is named after nicoise olives, so what do I call it?

Hence the Unnamed Seared Tuna Salad was born.  Enjoy!  I plan on customizing it even more the next time I make it, using fresh asparagus instead of green beans.  What are some of your favorite food swaps?

Unnamed Fresh Tuna Salad

4 large eggs
1 lb. small red potatoes (quartered)
1 heaping cup trimmed fresh green beans
2 tuna steaks (about 6 oz each)
Salt & pepper
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes (halved)

Hard boil the eggs.  My no-fail method is to place them in a saucepan and cover with about an inch of water. Bring to a boil then immediately cover and remove from heat.  Let sit for 10-15 minutes then drain and let the eggs cool in an ice bath for 10 minutes.  Refrigerate until needed.

Add the potatoes to a large pot and cover with cold water.  Add salt to season the water (about 2-3 tbsp.) and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly and let the potatoes simmer for about 10-12 minutes.  Add in the green beans and cook for 4 minutes, then transfer the beans to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Drain the potatoes and set aside.

Now is a good time to peel and halve the eggs.  Heat a large cast-iron skillet or grill pan over medium high heat.  Add in a splash of vegetable oil or nonstick cooking spray.  Season the tuna steaks well with salt and pepper on both sides, then add them to the pan.  Cook 2-3 minutes on each side and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

Combine a pinch of salt and pepper, 2 tbsp. olive oil, vinegar and mustard in a small bowl.  Whisk together until smooth and toss about 3/4 of the mixture with the tomatoes.  Set the rest aside to use as additional dressing for the potatoes or beans if anyone wants it.

Divide the eggs, potatoes, tuna and beans among plates and top the tuna with the tomato mixture.

Printable Recipe

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