Myra Goodman's Seared Tuna with French Lentil Salad
This is one of Myra Goodman’s favorite recipes from her new book the Earth Bound Cook. Packed full of information for everything from organics to sustainability, to tips on buying the best cuts of meat, the best seafood choices and produce – with ingredient explanations and interesting recipe histories – the Earth Bound Cook is a must-have for anyone who loves food.
This recipe makes 4 servings.
Cumin Vinaigrette Ingredients:
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ tablespoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Tuna and Lentils Ingredients:
1 /2 pounds fresh tuna (preferably pole-caught albacore) cut 1 ½ inches thick
1 ½ cups French lentils, rinsed
4 cups cold water
1 cup diced *Roasted Red Peppers
1 cup thinly sliced scallions (white and light green part)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
½ cup (about 2 ounces) crumbles feta cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
About 2 teaspoons olive oil
Prepare the vinaigrette: place the lemon and orange juices, the oil, and the cumin in a glass jar and seal the lid tightly.
Shake the jar vigorously to combine.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. (The vinaigrette can be refrigerated, tightly covered, for up to two weeks. Let it return to room temperature and shake before using.)
Prepare the tuna and lentils: place the tuna in a shallow pan and brush all the sides with about 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette. Cover the pan and let the tuna marinate at room temperature for 1 hour.
Meanwhile place the lentils, 2 teaspoons salt, and the cold water in a medium-sized saucepan. Cover the pan and bring to the start of a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low to maintain a simmer, and cook the lentils, stirring occasionally, until they are tender, 25 to 35 minutes.
Drain the lentils and transfer them to a medium-sized bowl. Let them cool slightly. Then add the red peppers, scallions, and mint, and toss to combine. After the salad has cooled to warm, add the feta (if the lentils are still hot the cheese will melt).
Add 1/3 cup of the cumin vinaigrette to the lentil mixture, tossing to combine. Add more vinaigrette if desired, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep the salad warm.
Discard the marinade, and season the tuna on both sides with salt and pepper.
Place a cast iron skillet over high heat and when it is hot, add the olive oil (enough to fill the bottom of the pan). Reduce the heat to medium and add the tuna. Cook the fish for 3 minutes. Then turn the tuna over and cook until it reaches the desired degrees of doneness, 3 to 4 minutes for medium-rare.
Immediately transfer the tuna to a cutting board. Let it rest for 2 to 3 minutes while you divide the lentil salad among four plates. Cut the tuna into ½ inch thick slices, and arrange them on top of the lentil salad. Drizzle each serving with some of the remaining vinaigrette and serve.
Myra’s *Roasted Peppers
Use bell peppers of any color, preferably a mix of red, yellow and orange and extra virgin olive oil. (For the recipe above use 2 medium sized red bell peppers).
Place a rack 4 inches from the broiler element, and preheat the broiler. Brush a rimmed baking sheet lightly with oil.
Place the whole peppers on the baking sheet so that they do not touch each other. Broil, turning them frequently with tongs, until the skin is blistered and charred all over, 10 to 20 minutes. Have patience and turn the peppers frequently so that the skin chars but the flesh itself does not burn. Take care not to pierce the peppers with the tongs, or you will lose the delicious juices.
As the peppers become charred, transfer them to a bowl or a paper bag. Cover the bowl and seal the bag, and allow the peppers to steam for 5 to 10 minutes to loosen the skins.
When the peppers are cool enough to handle, slit them over a medium bowl to catch the juices. Scrape or peel off and discard the skins. Cut the peppers in half and remove and discard the seeds, stems, and membranes. If you wish, cut the pepper halves into wide strips.
Transfer the peppers to a container and drizzle olive oil over them. Covered tightly, they can be refrigerated for up to 7 days. For the best flavor serve at room temperature.