How is it that a Blog post can be written and then not posted, for months? OK, I forgot to write down the recipe. So I cooked it again. Except that half way through, I forgot again; something about measurements – does it really matter? And then I forgot to take a picture. And then I got the picture and it still didn’t get posted. It’s like the not-posting developed inertia and no external force came along to change it; the non-doing was perpetuated by further non-doing and then non-doing became an act unto itself. And how to reverse that? Clearly two non-doings do not turn into doing. But without further non-doing, the post, at long last:
My friend Wendy is one of those amazing cooks who never acknowledges that she is an amazing cook. She happens to be amazing at a lot of things and she also happens to be a better skier than me, but that’s for another blog. Let’s just say Wendy is amazing and she has the ability to throw together huge meals for huge groups of people without any assistance from packaged goods. “I’m all about simple, Lindsay” she insists. Simple? Nothing about the meal would be simple except the ease with which she throws it all together. Simple, perhaps because she made some of it ahead of time, or perhaps because she was able to get the ingredients locally. I don’t know, but I do know that the results are always simply outstanding, wherever we are, no matter what the occasion or how big the crowd. And so it came to be one day when she visited me in Toronto, it was just the two of us for dinner and we bought a beautiful overpriced piece of tuna (why I was feeding fish to someone who had flown in from Vancouver, I do not know; clearly I have become a smug Torontonian after all). I planned to cook it the special way I had finessed over the years, but Wendy insisted that since I was putting her up, she would cook it and I was to let her do it “her” way. I had to acquiesce. (I am learning, very slowly, to let some things go, sometimes). I figured, when it came right down to it, how many ways can you sear a piece of tuna? Well, clearly more than one; it was outstanding! The combination of the flavours of ginger and sesame oil with the sesame seed crust blew me away. As we savoured and devoured our meal we discussed the minutiae of our various recipes and decided that a combination would be spectacular.
I have since infused Wendy’s version with a sprinkling of mine, such that I think we have the absolute best of both combined. There is such joy in cooking with friends, sharing recipes, improvising and riffing off each other and creating something new that would likely never have been discovered alone in the kitchen.
This makes enough for a meal for two, or an appetizer for four
For the tuna:
-ginger, a piece about the size of a thumb, finely grated
-soy sauce, a few Tablespoons
-sesame oil, a few drops; not too much as it can be overpowering
-black sesame seeds
-sashimi grade tuna steak
-wasabi, about a teaspoon, or to taste
-juice from half a lemon
-a splash of soy sauce
-a heavy based frying pan, preferably cast iron, or non-stick
Combine ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil in a dish just large enough to hold the tuna. Place tuna in the dish, turning to ensure all sides have been submersed in the marinade and leave to marinate for 20-30 minutes, turning several times and spooning mixture over top.
In the meantime, whisk together the lemon juice, wasabi and another dash of soy sauce. Adjust amounts to taste.
On a side plate, poor enough black sesame seeds to cover the bottom.
Get the frying pan nice and hot, but not too hot because you don’t want to burn the sesame seeds, so, medium high-ish. Remove the tuna from the marinade and coat it in the sesame seeds and when the pan is ready, throw the tuna in. How long you cook it for is really a matter of taste. You can sear it for thirty seconds a side for virtually a sashimi tuna, or a minute per side for a little more cooked. You definitely want it rare! To monitor it, you can watch the sides as the grey creeps up. Once done, remove from pan and place on chopping board. Thinly slice the tuna and arrange pieces on individual plates over a handful of arugula. Drizzle with wasabi lemon dressing and serve.