GREEN PEPPERCORN TUNA
In My Kitchen
by Annie Bell
Any cold leftover tuna makes a fine Nicoise salad, with salted anchovies, plum tomatoes, quarters of hard-cooked egg, black olives, and arugula. Alternatively, you could grill the tuna at the very beginning of the barbecue and throw the salad together as an appetizer. A 4 to 5 1/2 oz steak is a good size if you are planning on having a mixed barbecue and want a little of everything. Otherwise you could grill 6-8 oz steaks.
• 2 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
• 1 tbsp green peppercorns
• 1 tbsp brandy
• 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• Six 4-5½ oz tuna steaks, 1in thick (weight excluding skin and bones)
• sea salt
• 2 tbsp unsalted butter
• 1 lb 5 oz young spinach leaves
• slim lemon wedges to serve
Place the garlic in a mortar and pestle and crush to a paste. Add the peppercorns and pound to break them up. Add the brandy and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and blend. Use this paste to coat the tuna steaks in a large bowl, cover, and chill for a couple of hours.
Reaquaint the tuna with any marinade that's run to the bottom of the bowl by turning it, and season on either side with salt. Barbecue for 5—6 minutes each side until golden and the fish feels firm when pressed. You should be able to see side-on when it is cooked, with just the faintest trace of pink in the center, if you have a peek with a knife.
While the tuna is grilling, saute the spinach; you will need to do this in two batches. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil and half the butter in a large skillet over high heat, add half the spinach, season with salt, and saute until it wilts. Transfer it to a bowl with any liquid given out and cook the remainder in the same fashion. Drain the spinach into a sieve, pressing out the excess water. The spinach can also be cooked in advance and reheated in a skillet or saucepan. Serve the tuna steaks with the spinach and a lemon wedge or two.
Heat a double ridged griddle for several minutes over medium heat, and cook for 5-7 minutes each side.