Fresh Tuna Salad Nicoise with Fresh Oregano Dressing

Growing up I can remember hot summer evenings when my Mum would fix fresh tuna Niçoise salads for dinner.  I was never one to really complain, I would eat anything, but I didn’t really get the appeal.  Now that I truely love yummy tuna steaks and appreciate the simplicity of fresh summer ingredients, this is one of my favorite hot summer evening meals.  The creamy fresh oregano dressing adds another level of delicious flavors.  This superb salad needs nothing more than good bread and a cool glass of French wine.

For the salad you will need:
1 pound green beans, trimmed
8 red-skinned new potatoes, scrubbed
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 or 4 tuna steaks (about 1.5 pounds), 2 inch thickness
freshly ground black pepper
4 eggs, hard boiled, peeled and quartered
2 large, ripe tomatoes, seeded and sliced in wedges
1/3 cup Niçoise olives, drained
sprigs of fresh oregano for garnish

Bring a pan of salted water to a boil, add the beans and cook for about 6 minutes, stirring once or twice.  Drain and transfer immediately to a bowl of ice water to cool completely, drain and set aside.  In a saucepan, cover the potatoes with cold water and stir in about 1 tablespoon of salt before setting over medium heat.  Cook until just tender, about 9 minutes after the water reaches a boil.  Drain and let cool.  Both the beans and the potatoes can be prepared a day in advance.

Rub the room temperature tuna steaks with olive oil, salt and pepper and set the grill to medium/high heat.  Place steaks over the hottest part of the grill and cook, turning once, 2 minutes per side for rare or 3 minutes per side for medium.  Like Mario says, “if you want your tuna more cooked than that, throw the steaks directly into the trash and buy some cans of good tuna instead!”

Cut the tuna along the grain into 1/4 inch thick slices.  Arrange the beans and sliced potatoes on the plates. Fan tuna slices in the center and garnish with the eggs, tomatoes and olives.  Garnish with fresh oregano and drizzle with the dressing.  Will also need some nice coarse salt sprinkled on top for an extra umph.

serves: 4 people
time: 35-40 minutes
from: The New American Kitchen

For the dressing you will need:

1/3 cup clean, whole fresh oregano leaves
1 egg
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 medium garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil

In a small food processor, combine the oregano, egg, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper.  Process for about 30 seconds.  With the machine running, add the olive oil in a quick, steady stream.  Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Dressing can be made up to 2 days ahead of time, just bring to room temperature before serving.

yields: around 1 cup
time: less than 10 minutes
from: The New American Kitchen

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