Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What I had For Dinner Last Night

When I cook this time of year, the emphasis is on using as much of what comes out of the garden as possible. My garden is overflowing with tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, eggplant and herbs. I'm also going to the Farmers' markets (or directly to the farms themselves), and buying whatever I don't grow.

My husband is a meat eater, and still complains when the meal has no meat in it. Hey it's an improvement, a few years ago, the meal had to be centered on meat as in a huge roast in the middle of the table.

Another big improvement is that I now get no complaints when I serve fish. Let me tell you, it was a long and hard road to get him to this point, but I persevered. Fresh tuna, in particular, is now one of his favorite meals (although I limit it to no more then once or twice a month because of the high mercury content in tuna).

Yesterday, fresh tuna was on sale for $8.99 a pound. There was no way I was walking away from the fish counter without some tuna when it was selling at that price. I brought the tuna home and made this Provencal inspired meal.

The best part about this dish is that it can be made all in one dish. You need to have a large pan that can go directly from stove top to oven. I used my largest cast iron skillet, but any large pan that's oven safe (no plastic handles please) can be used. You can serve it with either a nice crusty bread or over rice.

Provencal Tuna with Fresh Garden Vegetables


3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large or 2 small red onion, peeled or chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
2 bell peppers (any color), cored seeded and chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 small zucchinis, chopped
6 oz. pitted Kalamata olives
Fresh thyme, stems removed.
4 fresh tuna steaks, sliced 3/4 inch thick
salt & pepper
1 lemon thinly sliced
Fresh Chopped Parsley.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a large, oven-safe, pan over medium-high heat, then add the red onion and saute for 1-2 minutes until it just starts to soften. Add the garlic and stir for a few seconds, then add the peppers and tomatoes and saute for 5-6 minute, until everything softens. Add the zucchini and saute for another 2-3 minutes. Add the thyme and olives and cook for another 5 minutes, then remove from the heat.

Sprinkle salt and pepper over the tuna and then overlap them over the cooked vegetables and tuck the lemon slices between the steaks. Put the pan in the pre-heated oven and bake 5-12 minutes, depending on how rare or well done you like your tuna. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with parsley.

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