I am not an intuitive seafood cook. I can do the basics, but I never really learned fish. None of the restaurants where I cooked did a lot of fish – except the annual Cioppino Fest at The Riviera – and that doesn’t count. So if I want to do something other than a pan-fry, I need inspiration.

I found it today in an old Gourmet. A recipe called “Sicilian Tuna.”

With a name like that, I figured it had to be good. And since we’re going there next year for our 20th anniversary, I thought I may as well start getting used to the cuisine. I do like to plan, after all…

The recipe calls for a marinade and a sauce, both of which were easy to put together and were really, really flavorful. We both did a lot of oooh’s and aaah’s over this one.

And the potatoes…  they totally rocked the Casbah! Who knew stuffing shredded potatoes with eggplant would be so good?!?

Sicilian Tuna

adapted from Gourmet

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
  • tuna steaks

For sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 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

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. 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.

It definitely did what it was supposed to do.



The other hit of the evening was the potato and eggplant dish.

This recipe came from Bon Appetit. I cut it in half for the two of us.


Crispy Potato Eggplant

  • 2 1/2 cups finely diced, peeled eggplant
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt plus more to taste
  • olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 4 large Idaho potatoes
  • Pepper
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

Place eggplant in a nonreactive bowl. Toss with 1 teaspoon of salt and allow to sit for 20 minutes. Remove to a clean kitchen towel and tightly twist to squeeze out all moisture. Set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the eggplant and shallots and sauté for about 6 minutes, or until very tender. Remove from heat and set aside.
Peel potatoes. Using a hand grater or mandoline, shred potatoes into a clean kitchen towel. Tightly twist to squeeze out as much moisture as possible.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Heat remaining 1/4 cup of oil in a 9-inch ovenproof, nonstick sauté pan over medium heat. Using a spatula, evenly press half of the potatoes into the pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread the reserved eggplant over the top. Pat remaining potatoes evenly over the eggplant. Again, season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until bottom is golden. Carefully turn and dab the crust with bits of butter. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until bottom begins to crisp. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked and tart is golden and crisp. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut into 6 wedges and serve immediately.

The potatoes really did rock! It was a really unique flavor and a fun presentation.

You really need to wring as much liquid from the eggplant and the potatoes as you possibly can. They cannot be too dry for this.

I can see this being made, again…