It’s been a crazy day.  I’ve been a bit distracted most of the day because today would have been my mom’s 84th birthday.  She left us at a much-too-early 75.

But besides that, there’s just been a million and one things that have needed doing today, and time to only do a million of them.  So in the midst of it all, I cooked dinner.

Cooking has a way of bringing me back to reality – of balancing me.  On a good day, it channels my energy to the task at hand.  On a bad day, it forces me to concentrate on the task at hand.  Or I burn things.  And since I hate burning things, I do try and concentrate.

Tonight was perfect, because I had a couple of tuna loin steaks I wanted to do a bit differently – so I had to concentrate.  I came across a recipe in an old Gourmet  for Sicilian Tuna.  Victor’s Sicilian.  How could I resist?!?

It really did come out good.  And it was quick – about 15 minutes for the tuna, and just a few minutes to make the marinade.  Whole-grain brown rice with some ricotta salada stirred in after it was cooked, and some chopped spinach finished off the plate.

Sicilian Tuna

For tuna:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped oregano
  • 4 (6-ounces) tuna steaks, preferably albacore (1 inch thick; see cooks’ note, below)

For sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch dice, plus 3 tablespoons celery leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1/4 cup Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons small capers, drained and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped basil
  • 1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Equipment: a 2-burner grill pan
Marinate tuna:

Combine oil, lemon juice, anchovies, garlic, oregano, and tuna in a large sealable bag and seal bag, pressing out excess air. Let stand at room temperature, turning occasionally, 30 minutes.

Grill tuna:

Remove tuna from marinade and shake off any excess. Lightly oil grill pan and heat over medium-high heat until smoking. Grill tuna, turning once, until pale pink in center, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm.

Meanwhile, make sauce:

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add diced celery and cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, olives, and capers and cook until sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
Stir in basil, lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper and remove from heat. Spoon sauce over tuna and sprinkle with celery leaves.

Cooks’ note:

You can also use bigeye or yellowfin (ahi) tuna.

I didn’t use a two-burner grill pan – I just pan-fried it in a splash of olive oil. Worked just fine.  And it was just the thing to get me focused.  Fish=brain food.

Now to finish those tasks…..