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Monday, October 10, 2011
Yellowfin Tuna en Florence Fennel Yukon Gold Gratin with Roasted Anaheim Pepper
Very comfortable and delicious!
A few days ago, I thought of creating a nice new gratinee recipe with an eggplant cup and a shrimp gratinee filling. I decided to make that recipe another day, because fresh yellowtail tuna was on sale at the market today.
Yellowtail tuna is also called ahi. Usually when you see the word ahi on a French menu, it is easy to associate that fish with some kind of a fusion recipe. Fusion cooking is not very appealing to fans of classic French cooking. For a classic gratinee entree, ahi would be a poor word choice and yellowtail tuna is better suited. After the fusion cuisine trend's popularity started to decline, fine French comfort food became popular. This entree is definitely a comfort food recipe, yet the gratinee is cooked in two stages, so the tuna is still medium rare and quite juicy!
The market had some very nice looking Anaheim peppers for sale too. Anaheim peppers are just about as mild as a green bell pepper or poblano pepper. The Anaheim pepper flavor is rich and slightly tart like a pimiento. The flame roasted Anaheim pepper adds a nice light accompanying flavor for the tuna and it lightens the flavor of the florence fennel gratinee!
Roasted Anaheim Pepper:
Roast 1 whole green Anaheim pepper over an open flame or in an oven, till the skin turns dark brown or black colored.
Cool the roasted pepper under cold running water.
Completely wash the black skin off of the pepper.
Cut the pepper in half lengthwise.
Scrap off all of the seeds and trim off the stem end.
Cut the roasted Anaheim pepper into thin julienne strips.
Set half of the Anaheim pepper strips aside and save the other half for another recipe.
Florence Fennel Yukon Gold Gratin Recipe:
Boil 5 small Yukon Gold potatoes in water, till they are blanched and still firm. (Do not cook the potatoes till they become soft!)
Cool the potatoes under cold running water.
Use the back of a paring knife to scrape the skin off of the potatoes.
Set the potatoes aside.
Heat a small saute pan over medium heat.
Add 4 to 5 pats of unsalted butter.
Add 1 small handful of finely chopped onion.
Add 1 minced garlic clove.
Add 1 small handful of thin sliced florence fennel. (Anise bulb)
Saute till the onions turn clear.
Add just enough flour while whisking to soak up the butter in the pan.
Stir till a roux forms and till the roux cooks to a pale white color.
Add 1/2 cup of water.
Add 1/2 cup of dry white wine.
Stir so the sauce becomes smooth and stir till the sauce starts to boil.
Add 1/2 pint of cream.
Reduce the temperature to low heat.
Add 2 tablespoons of finely grated parmesan cheese.
Simmer and stir the sauce, till it reduces to a medium thin sauce consistency.
Add sea salt and black pepper.
Add 3 or 4 pinches of chopped green fennel leaf.
Add the peeled blanched Yukon Gold potatoes.
Pour the gratinee into an oven proof casserole dish.
Arrange the potatoes in the casserole dish, so they are evenly spaced around the border of the dish.
Sprinkle a couple pinches of fine bread crumbs over the potatoes and around the border edge of the casserole.
Bake the gratinee casserole dish in a 350 degree oven, till it just starts to get some light golden brown highlights.
As the gratinee bakes, the yellowtail tuna steak can be prepared!
Yellowtail Tuna and Roasted Anaheim Pepper Prep:
Season a 5 to 6 ounce yellowtail tuna steak with sea salt.
Press a little bit of crushed black peppercorn on one side of the tuna steak.
Heat a small saute pan over medium/medium high heat.
Add 3 or 4 pats of unsalted butter.
Sear the tuna on both sides for less than 1 minute on each side. The tuna steak should be very rare at this point.
Remove the tuna from the pan and set it aside.
Add the roasted Anaheim pepper strips to the hot butter in the pan.
Saute the pepper strips for a few seconds.
Add a tiny splash of dry white wine.
Remove the pepper strips from the pan and set them aside.
Florence Fennel Yukon Gold Gratinee with Yellowtail Tuna and Roasted Anaheim Pepper:
After the gratinee is baked to a golden color, remove the gratinee from the oven.
Place the seared tuna on a cutting board with the black pepper side facing up.
Score the tuna with a sharp knife, so the scores look like square shapes, and so the slices are cut only 3/4's of the way through the tuna flesh.
Use a spatula to set the tuna steak in the middle of the florence fennel Yukon Gold gratinee in the casserole.
Place a small mound of the sauteed roasted Anaheim pepper strips on the center of the tuna steak.
Return the casserole dish to the 350 degree oven.
Bake till golden brown highlights appear on the gratinee and till the tuna is cooked medium rare to medium.
Remove the casserole dish from the oven.
Place the casserole dish on a serving plate.
Place a few sprigs of green fennel leaf into the center of the tuna through the roasted Anaheim pepper strips.
Viola! Modern French comfort food! The gentle aromatic florence fennel in the gratinee adds a very nice warm flavor that is perfect for the savory yellowtail tuna. The gratinee should have a nice balance of wine, cream and cheese. The gratinee should not have an overbearing cheese flavor. Parmesan cheese is a strong flavored cheese, so be careful not to add to much! The Yukon Gold potatoes add nice eye appeal and a nice level of comfort to the gratinee.
The yellowtail tuna is not overcooked or dried out from too much time in the oven. The tuna is quite moist and tender! Scoring the tuna makes is so a knife does not have to be awkwardly used to cut the tuna in the casserole dish at the table! The mild flavor of the roasted Anaheim pepper lightens the gratinee. This is a nice creation of mine that only requires a few extra steps to make this entree very appealing. Yummy! ... Shawna