It’s official. I’m now a fan of Lidia Bastianich and her incredible knowledge of Italian cuisine along with her unique cooking techniques. For Christmas I received my first Lidia cookbook, Lidia Cooks From The Heart of Italy and I was blown away by her depth of culinary knowledge and ability to describe it.
I can’t believe it has taken me this long to get acquainted with her work. She is phenomenal. I was so excited after reading some of her recipes in this book and giving a few a try, I went out and purchased two more of her cookbooks, Lidia’s Italy and Lidia’s Family Table and can’t wait to write about what I’ve cooked from them.
This Tuna Genova Style or Tonno alla Genovese as Lidia calls it started with a trip to the Ardmore Farmers market on Saturday where my friendly fishmonger Andy was cutting up some gorgeous fresh tuna. I asked him when he thought the fish was caught and he thought maybe 3 or 4 days earlier. It looked terrific and again I will advise all home cooks to get to know your fish, meat and vegetable purveyors. They will direct you to the freshest ingredients and the best value of the day. Enough said.
I knew I wouldn’t be cooking the fish until Monday night so I asked Andy to cut me one piece that I could cut up into steaks later. As soon as I brought the tuna home, I vacuum sealed it in one of my favorite food gadgets, the FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer. This tool has saved me a lot of money over time by prolonging the freshness of my cheeses, meats and any leftovers I freeze.
So you can see this whole meal started with my going to the Farmers market looking for something to cook and then finding the freshest ingredients available. Once I had the tuna, I looked for ideas about how to cook and serve it. Often I will glance through several cookbooks for ideas but this time I picked up Lidia’s cookbook and immediately found what I looking for. This is how I typically decide how and what to cook.
We served the Tuna Genova Style with white rice and Brussels sprouts blanched and then sautéed with bacon and finished in the oven. A delicious meal we all enjoyed including the kids.
This is a very delicious meal I encourage you to try it and be sure to check out Lidia’s cookbooks. I may create a page dedicated to her, the recipes I try from her cookbooks and some of the little cooking techniques she offers.
Let me know how you like this recipe.
Tuna Steaks Genova Style Recipe
1½ pounds fresh tuna, cut into 2 large steaks
Salt, to season the tuna
Flour, to dredge the tuna in
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup of dried porcini mushrooms
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
2 small anchovy fillets (try anchovy paste if you don't want to open up a whole can for 2 fillets)
1½ cups of dry white wine
1 small lemon
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil to finish the sauce
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped.
How To Prepare At Home
I made the sauce separately from the tuna only because I wanted to get it done before everyone was ready for me to make dinner. In the end I just added the sauce to the pan the tuna cooked in and finished the recipe. Next time I would prepare the entire dish in one pan as Lidia does.
Start by soaking the dried porcini mushrooms in a cup of water. Next season the tuna steaks with salt on both sides and dredge in flour being sure to coat both sides but more importantly, shaking off any excess flour.
Heat a frying pan large enough to hold both steaks over medium-high heat until hot. Add 4 tablespoons of the extra virgin olive oil and let that get hot but not smoking.
Add the tuna to the pan and pan fry for about 1 minute. Flip the tuna steaks over and cook on the other side for another minute to minute and a half. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the tuna to a plate to keep warm while you make the sauce. I covered the fish with aluminum foil.
Start the Sauce:
Remove the soaking mushrooms from the water but don't throw the water out. We will use it in the sauce. Chop up the porcini mushrooms to fine pieces.
Add the frying pan back to the burner over medium high heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and let it get hot. Add the crushed garlic, chopped anchovy fillets and chopped up porcini mushrooms.
When those ingredients start to sizzle, add the white wine, lemon juice and the water the porcini mushrooms soaked in. I used a funnel lined with a paper towel to remove any sediment from the water. I would have liked to use a coffee filter in a funnel but couldn't find any.
Add the thyme sprigs and season with a little salt. Bring the sauce to a low boil and cook until it is reduced by half.
Finish the Tuna Steaks:
When the sauce is reduced by half, add the tuna steaks back into the pan and be sure to pour any juices from the resting tuna into the sauce. Let the tuna cook in the sauce for about a minute, flip and cook the steaks on the other side for another minute. If you like your tuna more well done, let it cook longer.
People ask me all the time how long is longer. I wish I could tell you but it depends on the stove you are using, the pan, the thickness of the fish and much more. The best I can tell you is over time you will get a feel for it. You can always cut into a piece if you have to know, but I don't like doing that because you are letting a lot of the juices escape. This is even more a problem with meat and chicken.
Now to add even more flavor to the sauce, add 2 tablespoons of butter or extra virgin olive oil to the pan and stir to combine the flavors. Remove the pan from the heat, add the parsley, give a quick stir and you are ready to serve.
I put a couple of spoonfuls of rice in the center of the plate, topped with a tuna steak and spooned the sauce around the sides of the fish and some on top. The Brussels sprouts were tastefully arranged on the side of the plate.
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