Joe: We bought some nice tuna steaks at the Reading Terminal Market and I decided to try something new. This recipe is a variation of a recipe from Ming Tsai. He uses fermented beans and serves the steaks on a bed of potato salad. I used regular black beans and did a presentation where I layed strips of tuna steak on deep fried potato slices.
First I cut a potato very thinly. I fried the slices in some canola oil until they were nice and brown. Drain and set aside.
I ground three tablespoons of peppercorns (assorted if you have them), a tablespoon each of black cumin, cumin and coriander seeds and a teaspoon of chili powder in a mortar and pestle. Salt the tuna, and then coat in the spice mixture and set aside.
Slice one shallot and some ginger. Heat a small pot or saucier over med to med high heat. Add the shallots, ginger, a half cup of red wine of your choosing, a quarter cup of black beans, salt and pepper. You want to reduce the wine completely. After the wine is about gone, pour in a quarter cup of cream. When the cream comes to a boil remove from the heat to a blender. Blend on high. Add 3/4 pound of cold butter in one inch slices until the sauce is smooth. You can keep this warm in a double boiler.
Put a small amount of canola oil in a pan and get the pan very hot. Saute the steaks until the spices turn brown. You are looking for a nice crust and medium rare inside.
To serve, cut the steaks on a bias. Arange the potato slices on the plate and put a slice of tuna on each potato. Drizzle sauce on the tuna and on the plate.
Sarah: This was a tasty dish, and beautifully presented. I think the spice crust was a bit much-- it tended to overwhelm the tuna. This probably would work better with a thicker tuna steak-- ours was only about an inch thick, which makes it hard to get a nice sear and still be rare inside, and I think that a higher ratio of tuna to spices would balance the flavors better. Amazing sauce, though!