Saturday, August 27, 2011

Tonno alla Fiorentina (Tuna Steak, Florentine Style)

One of my favorite beef recipes is Bistecca alla Fiorentina, or Florentine-style steak.  A very large porterhouse steak is rubbed with rosemary, salt and pepper (along with additional herbs such as sage or thyme), and then grilled to a perfect medium rare).  While this recipe works very well for me, it does not do much for my pescatarian wife, Clare, who has sworn off all red and white meat.  But, as a pescatarian, she will eat fish.  

So, when I saw some Ahi tuna available at a local Costco, I bought the fish because I thought that it would be the perfect fish to grill in the Fiorentina style.  "Ahi tuna" is a marketing term, a name given to Yellowfin Tuna.  Although a large fish, it is smaller than its Atlantic and Pacific Bluefin relatives.  The most sustainable Yellowfin Tuna is the fish caught by troll or the pole-and-line methods in the United States.  Unfortunately, Costco does not label its food well.  After a little debate within myself, I decided to buy the fish because it was the first time I saw enough Ahi tuna that I could make a dish for myself and my beautiful wife, Clare. 

A Chef Bolek Original
Serves 2-3

1 pound of Ahi tuna steak(s)
2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary, chopped finely
1 tablespoon of sea salt
1 tablespoon of ground black pepper
2 cloves of garlic, diced finely
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

1.  Marinate the steak.  Combine the rosemary, salt, pepper and garlic with the olive oil.  Spread the mixture liberally over all of the tuna steak(s).
2.  Prepare the grill.  Heat the grill on high heat.  If the steaks are cut in a way that may cause parts to cook faster than the steak as a whole, tie those parts to the steak with cooking twine.  

3.  Grill the steak(s).  Place the steak(s) on the grill.  Cook for two and one-half minutes and turn ninety degrees, cooking for two and one-half minutes more.  Flip the steak and repeat, cooking for two and one-half minutes and then turning ninety degrees to cook for an additional two and one half minutes.  After the steak has cooked for about ten minutes (or a couple minutes more), remove the steaks from the heat.

The goal is to replicate Bistecca alla Fiorentina ... a rare to medium rare steak.  Given Ahi tuna is used to make sushi and is served raw, serving it rare to medium rare should be okay for most people.  This recipe produced a delicious piece of tuna; however, as you can see from the pictures, I got a little more to medium rare to medium.  I reduced the cooking times in the recipe from those that I used when I made the dish for the first time.  I will continue to work on the recipe and update it based upon my subsequent efforts. 

Finally, I served the tuna with a simple salad of arugula with a dressing of one part balsamic vinegar and one part extra virgin olive oil.  


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