277g yellowfin tuna, .59lb
Splash of vodka (optional)
1/2 Avocado, sliced
1 TBSP oil
3 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled (mine were tiny and in total weighed about 11oz)
1 clove minced garlic
Salt and pepper
Equipment used: Oxo mandolin on setting 3, stainless steel pans
So to start, get yourself a fatty fresh tuna. I was discouraged recently by a fishmonger from purchasing fresh albacore tuna when I told them what I wanted to do with it, so try to get yellowfin or TORO.
Mix the salt, sugar, pepper, and lemon zest together in a bowl.
Sprinkle about half of the mixture into a piece of foil large enough to wrap your tuna in.
Place the tuna on top of the mixture and pour the last half of the salt mixture over the top. Add just a splash of vodka, wrap it up gently in the foil and refrigerate for 24 hours. I’m not sure how necessary the vodka step is; every other recipe I’ve seen about curing tuna does not require this. I happened to have some on hand so I didn’t see any reason not to add it. I never turn down an opportunity to cook with alcohol.
When you take your tuna out of the fridge the foil will be full of liquid so be careful. Rinse the salt mixture off the fish, dry it and put it back in the fridge.
Now it’s time to gratin. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice the peeled potatoes thinly and arrange them overlapping in circles in a buttered skillet.
On top of each layer add salt, pepper and garlic. On the very top layer, dot with butter. Fill the pan with milk about 3/4 of the way up and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Lower heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes until the milk reduces slightly. Regulate temperature so that the milk does not boil too aggressively.
Place the pan in the oven for about 10 minutes. Then reduce oven temperature to 300 and cook for ten minutes more.
In these last ten minutes, slice your avocado and tuna and fry the eggs.
Place a stainless steel pan over medium high heat with butter and oil and once the foam from the butter subsides, reduce to medium low. Crack eggs into the pan and cook low and slow, basting yolks with the butter. Eggs are ready when the yolks turn a slightly darker shade of yellow and show a bit of resistance to the touch.
Serve up the potatoes, top with avocado and tuna and finish with egg.
The cured tuna on its own tastes fairly strongly of lemon and salt but once it’s mixed in with all of the other ingredients, it really is a delicious, well-balanced bite. I think its the milky, butteriness of the gratin, the avocado and the egg that help mellow the strong flavor of the tuna. If I were curing tuna for another recipe, I might consider omitting the lemon, depending on the other elements.
That being said, I have half of the tuna left in my fridge which I plan to use throughout the week on pasta, salads, potatoes, etc.
And with each tablespoon of butter, we are one step closer to fat.