Chef Walter’s Flavors & Knowledge: Tuna With Oregano & Tomato

Wednesday, December 06, 2017
Master Chef Walter Potenza, GoLocalWorcester Food Expert

Serves 4

Tuna steak is very versatile, and can be adopted in many applications. This dish of clear Mediterranean influence is relatively simple to prepare. As we approach the Christmas Holidays this may be a great option if you want to omit meat protein from your daily diet. Other firm fish options can be used with this preparation, while adjusting the various cooking time.   

Ingredients

7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 large lemon

3 garlic cloves, crushed

4 medium tuna steaks, about 2 pounds

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried

1 ¼ pounds potatoes, peeled, cut in cubes

1 pound ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped

2/3 cups hot water

Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions

Whisk the olive oil with lemon juice and garlic, and place in a shallow dish that will hold all the tuna steaks in a single layer. Stir in salt and pepper, and then add the tuna steaks. Sprinkle over the herbs and turn the tuna steaks to coat them in the marinade. Leave to marinade between 1 and two hours. Lift the steaks out and lay them in a roasting pan.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Drop the potatoes into the marinating dish and turn them to coat in the olive oil mixture. Arrange them around the tuna steaks, drizzle over any remaining marinade and sprinkle the chopped tomatoes on top.

Pour the hot water into the roasting pan. Bake the tuna for 15 minutes, turning it over halfway through while stirring the potatoes. Transfer the tuna steaks to a serving platter and cover them with foil to keep warm. Increase the oven temperature to 400F. Add little more water to the roasting pan if needed and cook the potatoes for about 15 more minutes until they become crispy. Re-heat tuna steaks for 2 minutes before serving. Pour the sauce over it and serve with vegetables of choice on the side or simply with a baby green salad.

Buying tuna tips

Fresh tuna is a great choice for the grill, but since it can be expensive, it’s important to know how to tell if you’re getting your money’s worth.

The best-tasting tuna—blue fin, yellow fin, big eye, or albacore—will range in color from deep red to pink. Ideally, tuna will be displayed as a whole loin, and steaks will be cut at your request. But if your store displays steaks already cut, look for moist (but not wet or weepy), shiny, almost translucent meat. This means the steak is fresh and recently cut. Cut steaks will begin to oxidize and turn brown fairly quickly. If they look dull and matte, or very brown, then they’re probably old. Another sign of age is “gapping,” when the meat of the muscle starts to separate into flakes. If you’re in doubt about freshness, ask for a smell; the fish should have a fresh sea-air smell, not an overly fishy odor.

All tuna steaks will have a strip of darker meat running through them. This nutritious meat is perfectly edible but has a strong flavor that many people don’t like. You can cut it out, or better yet, choose steaks with a minimal amount of it.

Master Chef Walter Potenza is the owner of Potenza Ristorante in Cranston, Chef Walters Cooking School and Chef Walters Fine Foods. His fields of expertise include Italian Regional Cooking, Historical Cooking from the Roman Empire to the Unification of Italy, Sephardic Jewish Italian Cooking, Terracotta Cooking, Diabetes and Celiac. Recipient of National and International accolades, awarded by the Italian Government as Ambassador of Italian Gastronomy in the World. Currently on ABC6 with Cooking Show “Eat Well." Check out the Chef's website and blog
 

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