Saturday, February 5, 2011

Coriander and White Peppercorn Crusted Yellowfin Tuna, Caramelized Grapes & Green Olives, Saffron Pearl Couscous, Orange Lavender Vinaigrette

It is an honor and a pleasure to turn the LC floor over to one of the most creative cooks on the net, Natasha the 5 Star Foodie.  Natasha is fearless in the kitchen, always pushing the flavor envelope, and displaying her extensive palate.  Later this month we will be unveiling an exciting new project.

For now, please enjoy this sublime culinary expression...


I am very excited to guest post today here on Lazaro Cooks! My very talented friend Lazaro always inspires me to think of new ideas for my dishes. Last month, when he posted his amazing Yellowfin Tuna & Tofu Redux, I realized that I have not made tuna in a very long time. After pondering for a while about what I wanted to do, I finally came up with a winning concept.

I decided to focus on Mediterranean flavors throughout the various elements of my dish. I prepared the tuna itself by encrusting it in an aromatic mixture of coriander and white peppercorns, then quickly searing it. The Israeli pearl couscous was a terrific side dish, delicately flavored with Spanish saffron. A warm relish of caramelized grapes and green olives features deliciously sweet and salty flavors. Finally, orange lavender vinaigrette provided just the right touch, adding both acidity and a little bit of sweetness without overpowering the flavor of the tuna itself. All these components blended together in a delightful way, making this an exceptional dish.


Orange Lavender Vinaigrette
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon lavender
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/3 extra virgin olive oil

Saffron Pearl Couscous
Israeli pearl couscous
Pinch of Spanish saffron
Butter, salt to taste

Caramelized Grapes & Green Olives
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup red seedless grapes, halved
1/2 cup Spanish green olives, sliced
1 tablespoon pimentos, finely chopped
1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Coriander and White Peppercorn Crusted Yellowfin Tuna
2 6-ounce Yellowfin tuna steaks
4 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons white peppercorns
Coarse sea salt to taste
1 tablespoon oil


Orange Lavender Vinaigrette
In a processor, combine white balsamic vinegar, honey, orange juice, lavender, and mustard. Mix to blend. While the processor is running, drizzle in the oil. Let the vinaigrette stand at a room temperature for about an hour for the flavors to develop, then strain before serving.

Saffron Pearl Couscous
Prepare the Israeli pearl couscous according to instructions but add a pinch of saffron to the water before boiling. Once cooked mix in little bit of butter.

Caramelized Grapes & Green Olives
Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add grapes and cook for about 2-3 minutes, stirring, then add olives and pimentos and cook for another minute until the olives are warmed through. Transfer to a bowl and mix in cilantro. Season with freshly ground black pepper.

Coriander and White Peppercorn Crusted Yellowfin Tuna
Toast the coriander seeds and white peppercorns in a hot skillet, cool, and grind in a spice or coffee grinder. Transfer to a shallow bowl and mix in a little bit of salt to taste. Coat the tuna steaks with the spice mixture on both sides. Heat oil in a skillet over high heat. Quickly sear the tuna for about 30 seconds per side.

to assemble:
Place a round of saffron pearl couscous in a middle of the plate, top with grapes and olives. Slice the tuna and arrange the slices around the couscous. Drizzle the orange lavender vinaigrette around.

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