Since today is his birthday, I've been making a lot of special fish meals to try and figure out his perfect birthday dinner. Because he has been talking about spending the day out on a boat, I needed a recipe that would quick to make and still special and delicious.
I think I came up with the perfect dish, a Smoked Tuna Pasta with Preserved Lemon and Mint.
1 smoked tuna loin or 1 fresh tuna loin, either one left at room temperature for about 30-45 minutes prior to serving
1/2 box of pasta, rotini, bow tie, another small pasta
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch of Swiss chard, leaves sliced into ribbons
1 green pepper, chopped
1/2 bunch of asparagus, chopped
1 preserved lemon, minced
2/3 cup of mint leave, 1/2 minced and remaining mint roughly torn
1/3 cup of sliced almonds
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Cook pasta to el dente in well salted, boiling water. Drain and set aside.
2. While pasta is cooking, heat the oil and cook the garlic until it begins to cook and starts to smell good. Add the Swiss chard, asparagus, and pepper. Cook veggies until warm but still crisp. Add preserved lemon, minced mint, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. If using a smoked tuna loin, just slice it on a bias and set aside until serving. Slice through the tuna in one stroke, rather than sawing it so you get nice clean pieces.
If using a fresh tuna loin, first cut it into approximately 6 inch pieces to make it easy to work with. Then, heat up a cast iron pan and add some oil to it. Salt each side of the tuna well and then place it in the pan for 12-25 second per side, just enough to evenly cook each side of the tuna and still leave the inside raw. Then quickly tightly wrap up the tuna in a piece of plastic wrap to make the slicing easier. Then just slice it on a bias, removing the plastic wrap, and set it aside for serving.
4. Toss the pasta with the veggies and serve. Place a few slices of the smoked or pan seared tuna on top and scatter each plate with sliced almonds and torn mint. Enjoy with friends!
My photo shows a smoked tuna loin that I bought frozen at my grocery store, but I prefer the seared tuna a little more. The salty flavour is awesome and it's really quite quick to make too.