Monday, October 10, 2011

Seared Poivre Noir Yellowfin Tuna and Roasted Anaheim Pepper en Florence Fennel Yukon Gold Gratin

Sautés Poivre Noir Albacore et le rôti Anaheim Piment sur Gratin de Fenouil Pommes de Terre Yukon Gold!

     Yellowtail tuna is usually called ahi on American menus.  Even Japanese sushi restaurants use the work ahi on menus in America.  Ahi is Hawaiian for yellowfin tuna.  For a French gratin style entree, the name ahi would be a poor choice.  French fusion chefs use the word ahi, but classic French chefs usually call yellowfin tuna by the name albacore.
      Because of the strong lobby of Japanese fishermen and the sushi industry, yellowfin tuna always seems so escape unsustainable seafood classification.  Yellowfin tuna has been steadily declining in numbers, like all tuna species.  The reality is yellowfin tuna is low in numbers.  Responsible chefs realize this and they do not use yellowfin tuna as bait to capture customers.  Just like Atlantic cod, yellowfin tuna seems to get the same respect.  Many consumers demand yellowfin tuna with no regard for the extinction of the species.  Some people are deranged enough to think about celebrating over eating eating the last yellowfin tuna steak on earth.  That same attitude sent Atlantic cod into extinction.
     Self control helps the sustainable seafood cause.  I can count how many times that I have eaten yellowfin tuna during the last five years on one hand.  Today's yellowfin tuna recipe will probably be the last one posted in this food site.  I also stopped posting black tip shark recipes when they become low in numbers.  Supporting seafood sustainability means taking action.  I have posted links to seafood sustainability site on the link page and seafood page in this site's index.  Always check the sustainability status before making any seafood purchase.
      Today's yellowfin tuna entree is a modern comfort food recipe.  The entree is cooked in two stages, so the tuna is still medium rare and juicy.  A gratin does not need to be heavily browned to be called a gratin.  A few golden brown highlights are enough for certain gratin applications.  Many kinds of cheese become vile and bitter when they are heavily browned.  The character of the cheese has a lot to do with how light or dark a gratin should be.
     The market had some very nice looking anaheim peppers for sale.  Anaheim peppers are spicier than a poblano pepper and some can be as hot as a serrano pepper.  Most anaheim peppers are fairly mild.  Anaheim pepper has a rich crisp green chile flavor.  The flame roasted Anaheim pepper adds some zest and lightens the overall feel of this gratin entree.
     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.
     Cool the roasted pepper under cold running water.
     Wash the black skin off of the pepper.
     Cut the pepper in half lengthwise.
     Scrap off all of the seeds and trim the stem end.
     Cut the roasted Anaheim pepper into long thin strips.
     Set half of the Anaheim pepper strips aside and save the extra for another recipe.
     Florence Fennel Yukon Gold Gratin:
     Blanch 5 small Yukon Gold potatoes in boiling salted water, till they become halfway cooked and so they are still firm.
     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/medium low heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add 2 tablespoons of finely chopped onion.
     Add 1 minced garlic clove.
     Add 1/3 cup of thin sliced florence fennel.  (Anise bulb)
     Saute till the onions turn clear in color.
     Add just enough flour, while stirring, to soak up the butter in the pan.
     Stir till the roux combines and till the roux becomes a white color.
     Add 1/2 cup of white fish stock.  (Fumet)
     Add 1/2 cup of dry white wine.
     Add 3/4 cup of milk.
     Add 1/4 cup of cream.
     Stir as the sauce comes to a gentle boil and thickens to a very thin consistency.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of finely grated parmesan cheese.
     Stir till the cheese melts into the sauce.
     Simmer and reduce the sauce, till it becomes a medium thin sauce consistency.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 3 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 of the casserole.
     Bake the gratinee casserole dish in a 350º oven, till a few light golden highlights appear.
     As the gratinee bakes, the yellowtail tuna steak can be prepared!
     Seared Poivre Noir Yellowfin Tuna and Roasted Anaheim Pepper:
     Season a 5 to 6 ounce yellowtail tuna steak with sea salt.
     Press a few pinches of crushed black peppercorn on one side of the tuna steak.
     Heat a small saute pan over medium/medium high heat.
     Add 3 pats of unsalted butter.
     Sear the tuna on both sides for less than 1 minute on each side.  The tuna steak should be 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 1 ounce of dry white wine.
     Remove the pepper strips from the pan and keep them warm on a stove top.

     Seared Poivre Noir Yellowfin Tuna and Roasted Anaheim Pepper en Florence Fennel Yukon Gold Gratin:
     Tuna that is deep freeze treated for sushi can be cooked less than 145º.  Tuna that is not treated for sushi has to be cooked to 145º for 15 seconds to eliminate any pathogen threat.
     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.
     Return the casserole dish to the 350º oven.
     Bake till golden brown highlights appear on the gratinee and till the tuna is cooked medium rare to medium or till it reaches a safe serving temperature.
     Remove the casserole dish from the oven.
     Place the casserole dish on a serving plate.
     Mound the roasted Anaheim pepper strips on the center of the tuna steak.
     Spear 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 gratin adds a nice warm flavor that is perfect with yellowtail tuna.  Excessive cheese is not necessary.  This is not a gratinee style French onion soup!  Tuna casserole fans will like this French comfort food style recipe. Yum!  ...  Shawna

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