Griddled Tuna Steaks with Curried Chickpeas

A couple of days ago I was having a conversation with a friend when a dreaded question popped up. It was a question that I'd constantly batted away because it always put me in an awkward situation. But there was no way I was going to escape it this time. I just had to brace myself, listen up and answer it without making too much of a fuss. If you found out you only had one hour left on Earth, what would be the last thing you would eat? She asked. That question niggles away and always seems to activate my inner Larry David...I just don't know what I'd eat. I'd want to eat everything - like I was in Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, I'd take a bite out of the lamppost...take a bite out of an...Oompa-Loompa. But people like real answers and I didn't know what to say so I went through a list of things I wanted to eat. Mum's kibbeh, the biggest steak in the world, chips, labneh, nutty gelato, a really greasy burger/kebab/hot dog, pizza, a croissant made out of too much butter, cheese, otoro sashimi...

I'm pretty sure at this moment it had been 3 or 4 minutes since I'd said a word but my friend knew better than to wake me from my moment. Mmm. Fatty tuna. There's something so luxurious about eating tuna belly fat (clearly it's not inherent in the description) that to me is more rewarding than a great steak or a greasy kebab. I guess it's a pure and relatively guilt-free mouthfeel that also activates ancient synaptic connections that associate animal fat with pleasure and satiety. That and the fact it costs an arm and a leg and I hardly ever get to eat it...It would definitely be a fine way to say goodbye to the world. And the Bluefin species. I joke.

Tuna is way and beyond one of my favourite things to eat and overfishing is definitely a massive issue for responsible eaters. Ethically sourced tuna is without a doubt one of the better things to have in your fridge and I find it much more rewarding than chicken. I think we should be eating less chicken and more fish. Chicken is the meat world's pasta - so ubiquitous and so easy to cook that you wouldn't serve it for a special occasion (unless you had an amazing recipe). One of my favourite lunches is this griddled tuna steak recipe which I pair with curried chickpeas and a medium boiled egg. A boiled egg on top makes everything better. Serve it on the weekend with some rosé if you want to pretend that summer is still here. Oh, yeah, and one question: If you found out you only had one hour left on Earth, what would be the last thing you would eat?

2 tuna steaks
1 can of chickpeas
1 medium onion
2 tomatoes
1 teaspoon tomato puree
a small handful of chopped coriander
2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
a pinch of garam masala
a pinch of dried chilli flakes
zest of 1 lemon and the juice of half
2 eggs

Dice the onion and fry in a little sunflower oil until translucent. In another pan dry roast half the cumin and the mustard seeds until you can smell the essential oils of the spices in the air. Crush the seeds in a pestle and mortar and then add the seeds, the chilli flakes and the garam masala to the onions. Fry for 20 seconds and then add the tomato puree and cook out for half a minute. Add the chopped tomatoes, chickpeas and seasoning and let simmer on a low heat for 10 minutes. Add the coriander to chickpea mixture when you've turned the heat off. Dry roast the other half of the cumin seeds before crushing and massaging into the tuna steaks. Add the zest and the lemon juice and let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes. Boil the eggs at this point to medium (you could also poach them). Heat up your griddle until it's smoking and sear the tuna steaks (making sure not to overcook). Dish up the chickpeas, add the tuna on top and the egg on top of the tuna steak. Sprinkle a little salt onto the egg and garnish with coriander. Easy peasy.

PS - Sorry I didn't update for a while. I didn't have access to the internet on my computer for a few days!


6 October 2009 at 14:35 Chocolate Shavings said...

Looks like the perfect meal!

6 October 2009 at 16:40 Anonymous said...

You always make me hungry when I come here...

6 October 2009 at 21:22 Phoo-D said...

Mmmm...the egg looks perfectly cooked! I love a good grilled tuna steak. For my last meal? Oh man that is a tough one...the list is long but it would have to include peach salsa and scallop sashimi from Nobu!

8 October 2009 at 11:17 M. A. Salha said...

Chocolate Shavings - Thanks. I think it's my perfect post-workout meal. Well, maybe I'd appreciate something like a burger more but this makes slightly more sense.

thecookieshopinenglish - Hah, I'm doing something right then!

Phoo-D - The scallop sashimi sounds amazing. I'm sure my list would be way too long to make any sense - I could never eat all of it.

10 October 2009 at 22:22 Anonymous said...

Tuna and egg aside, that's how we make chickpeas in my family too - fry onion, cumin and mustard seeds, tomato puree, garam masala, coriander at the end. Often we add a little black pepper, turmeric and garlic (the garlic later, so it doesnt get cooked as much). Is this a Lebanese style that my mum, y'know, nicked?

12 October 2009 at 12:00 M. A. Salha said...

barbarossaviii - Hah. It's not very Lebanese. I'm pretty sure it's a Pakistani or Northern Indian way of cooking chickpeas. However, we also use all but one (garam masala) of the ingredients. I think if you wanted to make it even more Lebanese you could leave out the garam masala and mustard seeds and just have the spice of the cumin. I was thinking about an Asian take on the Nicoise when I thought of this - so I wouldn't say this is necessarily authentic Lebanese fare.

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