Orthodox Christians are now in the Nativity fast, which is one of the more lenient of our fasts, in the sense that several times a week fish is permitted (shellfish is always licit). How fortunate, then, that I have a goodly amount of yellowfin tuna steaks in the freezer, the bounty from my offshore fishing trip last month. I was in Whole Foods today, and observed that line-caught yellowfin tuna sells for, get this, $22.99/lb. Can you imagine?!
We’ve been eating it like round steak around here. I’ve only ever grilled it, because we so rarely eat tuna steaks, given how pricey they are. Bored with grilling, I decided the other night to try baking tuna. I much prefer it that way, because it doesn’t dry out. I’ve been rubbing the steaks down with diced fresh ginger and diced preserved Meyer lemon peel, in olive oil. The lemon peel is so salty you don’t need to salt the fish. Put them in a black-iron skillet in a 425-degree oven for 20 to 40 minutes, depending on how big the steaks are (watch closely!), and … wow.
This weekend I tried something a little different, rubbing the fish down with a paste made of olive oil and chermoula spice blend from Kalustyan’s (click that link to mail order). Chermoula is a North African powder blend of cumin, coriander, red pepper, turmeric, garlic, allspice, black pepper, anise, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. How can you possibly go wrong with that? You can’t. It was crazy good, that tuna.
Next, I want to try cooking tuna in diced tomatoes, black olives, garlic and oregano. If you have fresh tuna recipes, let’s have them.
I want to share a shrimp recipe I made up: shrimp Creole on the grill. I took raw shrimp, diced Ro-Tel brand tomatoes (they have jalapenos in them), garlic, onions, and bouquet garni, put it all in a black iron pot, gave it a good stir, and put it on my Weber charcoal grill, with the top on, to cook. You have to watch it so the shrimp don’t overcook, but the smoke imparts a nice flavor to the dish. I served this at our Christmas parade party, and everybody was talking about how great it was. Preparing it on a hot charcoal grill is the secret. I can’t give you proportions, because I didn’t measure a thing. But it’s not that hard to figure out.
(I don’t mean to give the impression that eating during the fast is all tuna and shrimp Creole. For us, mostly it’s beans and nut butter sandwiches. Still, it’s nice to get a break from that.)