Tuna with Tomato, Mint and Capers
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
4 to 6 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
15 fresh mint leaves, chopped
3 sprigs fresh oregano, leaves only, or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
4 large round or 8 Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 1/2 cups green olives, pitted and cut lengthwise into quarters
1/4 cup capers
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
4 to 6 tuna steaks (about 6 ounces each)
1/2 cup white wine (optional)
sprigs of fresh mint and oregano
In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
Saute the onions until soft. Add the garlic, chopped mint and oregano, and saute briefly until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and cook until their liquid is released, about 10 minutes. Add the olives and capers.
For a hint of a sweet-and-sour taste, stir in the sugar. Carefully place the fish steaks in the sauce, and spoon some of the sauce over the tops. If you wish, moisten the braise with the wine.
Reduce the heat to a slow simmer and cook, occasionally agitating the pan to bathe the fish in the braising juices, until the fish is cooked, about 10 minutes.
To serve, use a wide spatula to transfer the fish to a large serving platter.
Spoon the sauce over and garnish with sprigs of mint and oregano. Serves 4 to 6.
Source: "Cucina Del Mare: Fish and Seafood Italian Style" (William Morrow, 1993) by Evan Kleiman. Submitted by Tom King, Lawrence.
1 pound sea scallops or bay scallops
1 1/4 cups to 1 1/2 cups lime juice (6 or 7 large limes, use Key if possible)
2 medium tomatoes (about 12 ounces)
hot chiles, fresh or pickled, finely diced (to taste; one small jalapeÃ±o or two small serranos will impart a moderate heat)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
freshly ground pepper
1 small avocado, sliced
1 small onion, thinly sliced into rings
A little finely chopped coriander or cilantro (optional)
If using sea scallops, quarter into small cubes; leave bay scallops whole.
Cover with lime juice. Set scallops aside in the bottom of the refrigerator for at least five hours, or until the fish loses its transparent look and becomes opaque.
Stir the pieces from time to time so that they get evenly "cooked" in the juice.
Chop the tomatoes; chop the chiles with their seeds (makes for a hotter dish; always wear gloves or wash hands thoroughly after handling chiles). Add them, with the rest of the ingredients, to the scallops.
Set cebiche aside in the bottom of the refrigerator for at least one hour to season. (This dish should be served chilled, but not so cold that the oil congeals.)
Before serving, garnish each portion with slices of avocado and onion rings, and sprinkle with chopped cilantro (if desired).
Substitute types of seafood that can be used: shrimp, crabmeat and firm-fleshed whitefish.
Source: Adapted from "The Cuisines of Mexico" (Quill, 1989; revised edition) by Diana Kennedy. Submitted by Tom King, Lawrence.
Tom King's Creamed Mussels
4 ounces pancetta (Italian bacon), chopped
1/2 small red onion, cut into small dices
4 large cloves garlic, chopped
zest of 1/2 small lemon (reserve fruit)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tablespoon toasted cumin seed, ground
3 dozen mussels, Prince Edward Island mussels recommended
1 tablespoon green peppercorns (optional)
1/2 cup white wine
juice of 1 small lemon
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup flat parsley, chopped
1/4 cup toasted bread crumbs
chopped chives (optional)
In a 4 1/2-quart pot or large, deep skillet, saute pancetta, onion, garlic and lemon zest in olive oil over medium heat until fat of pancetta is rendered and onions are translucent. Add cumin and stir well.
Add mussels and peppercorns and saute until mussels just open.
Immediately remove mussels to serving dish with slotted spoon. (Overcooking toughens the flesh.) When all mussels have been removed, turn heat to high and add white wine to pot, stirring well.
Boil a couple of minutes to evaporate alcohol. Add lemon juice, then add cream and continue to boil until liquid is reduced by a third. Add butter and incorporate fully into sauce. Remove sauce from heat. Stir in parsley.
Pour sauce over mussels and sprinkle with bread crumbs and chives.
Source: "Mollusks with Muscle," Los Angeles Times Magazine, Sept. 19, 1999. (Article featured mussel recipe by Tom King.) Submitted by Tom King, Lawrence.