Sunday, September 5, 2010

Seared Tuna with Summery White Beans

I had a bowl of fabled San Marzano Tomatoes sitting on my counter alarmingly going bad that had come from the local co-op. I've actually never seen them outside of a can and their smallish, almost peanut-shaped bodies were demanding that I eat them up quick.

I had already been conjuring up some sort of a fresher version of the classic tuna and white bean salad recipe which is one of my go-to quick meals. I thought that perhaps the beans could be livened up with some perfect summer tomatoes and topped with fresh, instead of canned tuna. I had baby spinach in the fridge that needed eating and so it all sort of came together out of both necessity and my nearly constant food daydreaming.

I was going to finish things with a squeeze of fresh lemon but made some super delicious seasoned bread crumbs instead, infusing them with zest and garlic. That added bit of boldly flavored crunch is the key to taking this meal from something really good to something extra great.

This was a cinch to make and was done in less than half an hour. It's quick enough to be a weeknight meal but pretty enough to serve to guests.

  • 1/3 pound fresh tuna steak
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup plum tomatoes, cut into small dice
  • 15 ounce can Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

Season the tuna on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a small, heavy skillet over medium-high heat and add one teaspoon of the olive oil. Add the tuna steak and sear on both sides for a minute or two until. Remove from the skillet and set aside.

Meanwhile, add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over a large skillet set over medium heat. Add all but one teaspoon of the minced garlic clove and saute until just fragrant, about 30 seconds, and then add the tomatoes. Cook the tomatoes for a couple minutes, then add the spinach. Saute until the spinach is wilted. Add the beans, season with salt, and cook for a minute more, until the beans are heated through.

Place the remaining teaspoon of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat and add the reserved teaspoon of garlic. Cook until the garlic is just starting to turn golden, then add the panko. Cook, stirring frequently until the mixture starts to turn toasty brown then transfer to a small bowl. Add the lemon zest and a pinch of salt to it.

Spoon the bean mixture between two plates. Thinly slice the tuna and arrange on top of the beans. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly over the tuna and serve immediately.

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