Friday, February 5, 2010

Seared Tuna with Zucchini and Toasty Garlic Mojo

I have a plan in place to try to eat more salmon. I know Ahi is high in mercury so eating it every week isn't the best idea. So I am going to work on liking salmon.

But that is for another week. This week I finished the last of the Ahi in the freezer. With a Rick Bayless recipe. What a shock!

I found this in Mexican Everyday. The original called for a flaky fish such as flounder, but I was sure it would also work with my beloved tuna.

Making the base for the zucchini mojo was an absolute pleasure! Slowly sauteing cloves of smashed garlic in fruity olive oil is my idea of happiness! If there was a way I could properly convey the aroma coming from the pan I would share it with you, but I am not that much of a wordsmith. And searing the tuna in the leftover oil and watching it turn brown and crusty, pure heaven!

The mojo would be wonderful on most meats - chicken, pork etc. If it looks good to you, please don't think it is limited to fish. Because of the intense flavors presented with the main dish, I chose a basic white rice. I have also included its recipe.


Seared Tuna with Zucchini and Toasty Garlic Mojo (Adapted from Mexican Everyday)

1/2 lb tuna steak
2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
8 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/3 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 large zucchini, diced
1/2 cup cilantro

Warm the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and cook until soft and lightly browned on all sides, around 4 minutes. Scoop the garlic into a food processor, leaving as much oil behind as possible.

Add the broth to the blender along with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Blend until smooth.

Return the skillet to medium-high heat. Season the fish with salt and pepper. Lay the fish in the pan. When it is brown underneath, flip it over with a spatula. Cook it until the fish gives slightly under pressure, about 2 minutes.

Add the zucchini to the skillet and saute until just beginning to soften and slightly browned, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic mixture and cilantro. Stir in the sauce until it comes to a boil. Turn to a simmer and cook until the liquid is almost evaporated, 3-4 minutes. Season to taste.

Arroz Blanco (Mexican White Rice from Rick Bayless)

2 1/2 cups chicken broth or water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
1 1/2 cups white rice, preferably medium-grain
1 small white onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

In small saucepan or microwave oven, heat broth or water until steaming.

Stir in about 3/4 teaspoon salt if using salted broth, 1 1/2 teaspoons if using unsalted broth or water.

Cover and keep warm.

In medium (3-quart) saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, heat the oil over medium heat.

When hot, add raw rice and onion and stir regularly until grains have turned from translucent to milky-white, 4-5 minutes.

Add garlic and stir for a few seconds, until fragrant. Do not let grains brown.

Add the warm liquid and lime juice, stir thoroughly, scraping down any grains that are clinging to the side of the pan. (or at this point put rice and liquid in a rice cooker)

Cover and cook over the lowest heat for 15 minutes--temperature should be low enough that only the slightest hint of steam escapes lid.

Remove pan from heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes.

Uncover and test a grain of rice: if still a little hard, re-cover pan and set over low heat for about 5 min.; if rice has absorbed all liquid and is completely dry, sprinkle on 2 tablespoons water before returning to heat.

When rice is done, sprinkle on parsley and gently fluff with fork to release steam and stop the cooking.

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