At the end of yet another stressful pandemic week, I was once again seeking comfort food. Something homey, simple, and familiar. My search led me to the top shelf of my bookcase and Ina Garten’s Modern Comfort Food, where I found a recipe for skillet-roasted chicken and potatoes.
I know that this is my second posting on grilled tuna in one month’s time. However, the other night I decided to abandon the soy-based marinade from Mark Bittman, which I’ve used for years, for one made with Marsala. While the former marinade yields a meaty-tasting tuna steak, the latter wine-based one is happy to play a supporting role and allow the lush flavor of the tuna to take precedence.
I used equal amounts of extra-virgin olive oil and dry Marsala to make the marinade and allowed the fish to marinate for about 30 minutes before putting it on a hot grill pan. I cooked the 3/4-pound yellowfin-tuna steaks, a little more than an inch thick, grill on the first side for 5 minutes seasoning them lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper. I then turned them and allowed them to cook for about another two minutes, leaving a pink, almost sushi-style middle. While cooking, I basted the steaks with the marinade.
I enjoying experimenting with my favorite recipes; sometimes, I fail and other times, I succeed. This time, I undoubtedly succeeded.
I served the fish with fresh spinach sautéed in olive oil and garlic and accompanied by a spectacular 2013 Domaine de Robert Morgon. This young fruit-forward cru Beaujolais was the perfect pairing for the rich tuna.
Wine Pairing: Morgon, Pinot Noir, Cotes du Rhone
When we watched Mario Batali transform a simple flank steak to mouthwatering juiciness on his TV show “The Chew,” I had to make it.
The steak is seasoned first with salt and pepper and then rubbed with a paste of dried-porcini powder, garlic, red-pepper flakes, and olive oil. It’s then placed in a re-sealable plastic bag and refrigerated for at least an hour or even better over night.
I let the steak marinate for about 12 hours, taking it our of the refrigerator an hour or so before cooking to let it come to room temperature.
Because it was too cold for grilling outdoors, I opted for a two-burner pre-heated grill pan. Batali, who used a gas grill on the show, recommended cooking the steak with the grill lid closed for this particular cut of meat. To replicate this, I tented the steak with heavy-duty foil as it cooked for about 6 minutes per side on medium high.
To retain the meat’s juices, I let the steak rest for the recommended fifteen minutes before slicing it.
This had to be one of the juiciest and most flavorful flank steaks, I’ve ever had. The earthiness from the porcini powder was complemented by the spice from the red-chili flakes.
Batali used the steak as part of a sandwich that was sauced with a Parmesan fondue. As luscious as it looked, we decided to forego the sauce and the bread and chose to serve the steak accompanied with spinach sautéed with olive oil and garlic. Here’s a link to the recipe. Grilled Steak and Fondue Sandwich.
Some recipe tips:
- I didn’t have any porcini powder, so I took a handful of dried porcini and ground them to a powder with a spice grinder. (Finally got to use that Magic Bullet that’s been in the back of the closet.)
- You may also want to adjust the recipe’s amount of red-pepper flakes depending on the type you have on hand.
- Finally, rather than smashing the garlic cloves to a paste, I grated ten with a rasp.
Wine Pairing: Cabernet Sauvignon, Valpolicella Ripasso, Cotes du Rhone