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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Tuna Steaks with Tapenade Coating

One of the benefits of living near the ocean is having access to fresh seafood.  The prices are sometimes a little high, but you're also buying fish and shellfish that was plucked out of the ocean within the last 24 to 48 hours.  That's fresh!  Today we found a great bargain on some beautiful tuna steaks and I couldn't wait to cook with them.

With a family of 5, we all have different tastes and our own favorite seasonings, so for a little variety, we went with two tuna recipes.  Since the tuna only needs to sear for a few minutes, cooking two pans of tuna was easy and everyone tried both versions before choosing their favorite.  Click HERE to see our second recipe, a citrusy Lime-Pepper Seared Tuna.  It is amazing also!

This recipe was my first choice when deciding how to prepare these gorgeous tuna steaks, and it's  from Jacques Pepin's cookbook, Essential Pepin.  Since my family always loves tapenade, I knew this would be a hit.

Classic tapenade is a combination of olives, garlic, anchovies and capers, all chopped and blended together into a chunky or smooth paste.  We did increase the ingredients slightly in order to have a bit of extra tapenade for leftovers.  It makes a great appetizer when served on crackers or sliced baguettes.  The tapenade is super easy to make with just a few ingredients, and would also be tasty with other varieties of fish such as salmon or even cod, which I can't wait to try.

1/3 cup  Kalamata Olives
1/3 cup  Black Olives
3 TB  Capers, drained
3  Anchovy Fillets
2 TB  Minced Garlic
2 TB  Olive Oil

Combine all 6 ingredients in a small food processor and blend until you have a chunky paste.  You can also puree it until smooth, if desired.  Set aside.

Once you have the tapenade prepared you are ready to make your tuna.  To gauge your portions for this recipe, I used one large tuna steak, about 3/4 pound, and prepared this steak with the tapenade mixture.  The second steak was the same size and it was used for the Lime-Pepper Seared Tuna recipe.  The two steaks together, about 1-1/2 pounds, were plenty for 5 servings.  We just sliced each steak and them served family style, which gave everyone a chance to sample both recipes.

3/4 to 1  lb  Yellowfin Tuna Steaks, about 1 inch thick (one steak or smaller portions work fine)
1 TB  Olive Oil
Kosher Salt and Ground Black Pepper

Spoon the tapenade mixture onto the tuna steaks.  Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until hot.  Place the steaks tapenade side down in the skillet, then sprinkle the top with salt and pepper.  Cover and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes (depending on the thickness of the tuna), or until the tuna has cooked about 1/4-inch.

Carefully turn the tuna over, cover and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.  (Again, this will depend on the tuna thickness and how you like your tuna cooked.)  At this point you can place the skillet in a warm oven (160 - 200 degrees) for 5 to 10 minutes to finish cooking, but if you like your tuna more on the rare side like we do, I simply covered the skillet, turned off the heat and let the tuna finish cooking for 5 minutes longer.  This produced a beautiful rare to medium-rare tuna.  Serve with baked clam shells, crackers and extra tapenade on the side.  Enjoy!!

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