Yellowfin tuna with saffron cabbage and sebago mash
Tonight was to be a Slow braised beef neck, slowly and succulently braised beneath a saucy chicken stock with mushrooms, but as I was about to enter the butcher's, the neighboring fishmonger had spotted me.
"The tuna has just arrived, it's still in the box." she yelled, hand cupped to mouth to direct her call.
Super fresh sashimi grade Yellowfin tunua or beef neck? Mmmm.
"It's a bit more expensive than usual, there hasn't been a lot of it around lately."
The young lad pulled out the tuna fillet and unwrapped it and showed it to me. The colour a gorgeous deep claret red, the flesh translucent and firm, smelling of the tuna, not of fish. Half a kilo should do for two, especially at $35/kg. Next stop: greengrocer. I discussed the merits of various spuds, (not being an expert) settling on some Sebagos to mash. I choose some savoy cabbage, just a quarter as I intend to saute with a little butter and saffron, some colour and soft crunch to offset the smoothness of the mash.
500gm yellowfin tuna in one piece
for the cabbage
i x onion, sliced finely
1/8th savoy cabbage
1 ts saffron in 60ml hot water
50 gm-ish butter
for the mash
3 x large sebago potatoes, scrubbed, peeled and diced
2 x cloves garlic, diced finely
60 gm butter
1/2 cup milk
for the beans
8 x beans per person
2 x lemongrass leaves
You'll need to get the mash and the cabbage going at the same time. The spuds for the mash can be done ahead of time if you keep them covered with water. Use a heavy based pan for the mash, that way you can finish it off and cover it and not have to worry about it later. Do the cabbage in a big non stick. Have a pot of fiercely boiling water ready for the beans, when it's their time. (They really don't need more than 2 mins to retain some bite.)
Oil a dinner plate and season it. Cut the tuna fillet in half lengthways, place on the oiled plate and season the upside too.
Julienne the cabbage and onion, toss in a pan with the butter. Add the saffron in water. keep adding water to soften the cabbage, but keep up the heat. You should have a gorgeous brown/red sort of caramelised finish to it.
Strain the spuds and mash manually with a masher. add the garlic and butter and milk, return to a low heat and stir with a wooden spoon. Turn the heat off and cover until ready to serve.
Start the tuna when the mash and cabbage are ready. Heat a griddle plate when you start doing the mash. Get it hot. Toss the tuna in the oil again and place it on the griddle. It only needs one minute a side, any more will overcook the fish, as I did after a few too many wines with this dish. When the fish is done, take it off the griddle and on to a room temperature plate.
Prepare an ice bath for the beans. (Keep a bag of ice in the freezer, throw four cups of ice into a steel mixing bowl and add cold water.) Tie the bundles of beans up with a leaf of lemongrass and blanch in the boiling water for two minutes maximum and refresh in the ice bath.
Take a 10cm pastry cutter and fill it in the middle of the plate full of mash, squaring off the top, then do the same on top of the mash with the cabbage. Place the tuna fillet on top, decorate with the beans and serve with a squeeze of lemon on top.
We enjoyed this with a 2007 Leeuuwin Estate 'Siblings' Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon from Margaret River. Which was perfect, but a SB or a buttery chardie would go just fine. Next time, I'll make a sauce. The combination of the mash and cabbage was sublime!