This combination makes an exceptional salad, and is equally good as a filling for halved avocados, or in sandwiches. I use tombo tuna, also known as albacore, for this salad, but any fresh tuna will do.—Gerald Gass
For the salad
1 tuna steak, about 3/4 pound and 1 inch thick
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, lightly toasted in a dry pan
1 tablespoon peppercorns
About 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, finely diced
2 celery stalks, with some leaves, finely diced
2 tablespoons salt-packed capers, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes, drained, and chopped
1/3 cup dry-cured black olives, pitted and chopped
For the dressing
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 anchovy fillets, preferably salt packed, rinsed and chopped
Rounded 1/4 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 egg yolk
Reserved olive oil, plus extra if needed
Fresh lemon juice
Make the salad
1. Select a saucepan just large enough to hold the tuna steak. Place the fennel seeds and peppercorns in a square of cheesecloth, bring together the corners, and tie securely, or place the spices in a tea ball. Add to the tuna along with the olive oil just to cover.
2. Place over very low heat and cook very slowly, turning once halfway through the cooking, until the tuna is nearly cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and lift the tuna from the oil. Place the tuna in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to stop the cooking. Reserve the oil.
3. When the tuna is cool, break it into rough chunks and place in a bowl. Add the onion, celery, capers, and olives.
Make the dressing
1. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, anchovies, salt, and pepper, and mash together with a fork. Add the egg yolk and mix well. Whisk in the reserved olive oil in a slow, thin stream, as you would when making a mayonnaise. Add a little more oil if necessary to make a fairly thick sauce. Season to taste with lemon juice, then adjust with more salt and pepper.
2. Add the dressing to the tuna and vegetable mixture and stir to blend. Check the seasoning again, then serve.
Recipe © 2004 McEvoy of Marin LLC. All rights reserved.