I have been mad grilling lately. It has been so darn hot lately that there just doesn’t seem to be a reason to turn on the stove when I can grill outside and drink tasty things. So on my weekly trip to Whole Foods last Friday (did you know they offer really good specials on something every Friday? The deal is generally good enough that I schedule grocery shopping around that day. Your frugal housewife tip of the day!) when the fishmonger offered to slice me up a fresh slice of tuna, I jumped at the chance. My mouth was practically watering. It was a gorgeous piece of fish.
Fast forward to the weekend when Alex and I are tired from chasing a toddler around and need a dinner that does not involve making our hot house hotter by turning on the stove. So out I pull my grilled tuna recipe. Alex trots over to Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide and starts looking for something tasty to drink that matches what we currently have in the bar. He comes up with a gimlet which I can’t say I have ever had before. So I start in on the marinade for the tuna and getting the charcoal going and Alex makes our drink a double. It was so good that by the second one, we decided that tuna was a sufficient dinner and we were not in need of veggies. Not entirely a balanced meal, but it could have been worse. It was also Walter’s first encounter with somewhat raw fish. I wasn’t sure he would like it, but it disappeared quickly so evidently it was a hit.
Charcoal-Grilled Tuna Steaks with Charmoula Vinaigrette
Vegetable oil for cooking grate
3 T. plus 1 t. red wine vinegar
2 T. Dijon mustard
2 t. honey
¼ c. minced fresh cilantro leaves
2 T. minced fresh parsley leaves
6 minced garlic cloves
1 t. sweet paprika
1 t. ground cumin
½ t. ground coriander
¾ c. olive oil
1 large tuna steak (about 1 lb.)
Ground black pepper
Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal (6 quarts, about 100 briquettes) and allow to burn until coals are fully ignited and partially covered with thin layer of ash, about 20 minutes. Build modified two-level fire by arranging all coals in even layer over half of grill, leaving other half empty. Loosely cover cooking grate with large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil; position grate over coals, cover grill, and heat grate until hot, about 5 minutes. Remove foil with tongs and discard; scrape grate clean with grill brush. Lightly dip wad of paper towels in oil; holding wad with tongs, wipe grate. Continue to wipe grate with oiled paper towels, redipping towels in oil between applications, until grate is black and glossy, 5 to 10 times. Grill is ready when coals are hot (you can hold your hand 5 inches above grate for 3 to 4 seconds).
While grill heats, whisk vinegar, ½ teaspoon salt, mustard, honey, cilantro, parsley, garlic, paprika, cumin, and coriander together in large bowl. While whisking constantly, slowly drizzle oil into vinegar mixture until lightly thickened and emulsified. Measure out ¾ cup vinaigrette and set aside for cooking fish. Reserve remaining vinaigrette for serving. I suspect it makes a good salad dressing too, if you make it that far.
Brush both sides of fish liberally with vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper to taste. Grill fish without moving until grill marks form and bottom surface is opaque, about 5 minutes. Carefully flip, cooking until grill marks form on second side, about 5 minutes longer for rare (opaque at perimeter and translucent red at center when checked with tip of paring knife) or 10 minutes for medium-rare (opaque at perimeter and reddish pink at center). Transfer to large plate and serve immediately, passing reserved vinaigrette.
The recipe hails from America’s Test Kitchen with my modifications.
2 oz. simple syrup
juice from one lime
2 oz. gin
1 ice cube made of Victoria’s Kitchen Almond Water
To make simple syrup, combine equal parts sugar and water. Cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally until dissolved. A quarter cup of each will give you enough for a few drinks. Once cool measure out two ounces and stir in lime juice. Either pour over ice in a tumbler and stir in gin or shake with gin and ice in a shaker and strain into a martini glass. Add ice cube and a slice of lime as a garnish.