I’m starting a new blog topic here for the Brunswick Mineral Springs Bed and Breakfast. One that I hope will appeal to all you home cooks out there who want to try something new, delicious but not so complicated that the thought of trying it makes you run screaming from the kitchen like a little girl.
The meals are going to be “Fast & Easy.” That means prep-time will be under 30 minutes from start to finish and it won’t require a litany of ingredients or the use of fancy gadgets.
But, while the meals will be Fast & Easy, it doesn’t mean we can’t learn some cool things… Like the meaning of “mise en place.”
Mise en place (French pronunciation: [mi zɑ̃ ˈplas] or [MEEZ ahn plahs]) is a French culinary phrase which means "putting in place" or "everything in its place." It refers to the set up required before cooking, like chopping, measuring, organizing and arranging the ingredients you’ll need to prepare your meal before you actually start cooking anything.
Today’s Fast & Easy recipe is tuna steaks with rice and steamed asparagus. For cooking, you’ll need a heavy skillet, big enough to accommodate your tuna steaks without them touching the sides or each other, a medium sauce pan with a tight-fitting lid to cook the rice and a steamer for your asparagus. If you don’t have a steamer, try one of these creative ideas from Food Hacks!
Your Mise en place:
Tuna Steaks (about ¾ inch thick)
Pepper Corns (about 2 tablespoons)
Parsley (about a 2 tablespoons, finely chopped)
Olive Oil (2 tablespoonishs...new term, use it often)
Butter (about a tablespoon)
Sea Salt (enough to season both sides of each tuna steak)
Sesame Oil (4 tablespoons)
Soy Sauce (1/4 cup)
Rice Vinegar (about 2 tablespoons)
Rice (about 2 cups)
Asparagus (with tough ends removed)
Hint: If you hold the asparagus stalk near the ends with two hands and bend it until it snaps, it should break right where the tough part starts, leaving you with nothing but the tender tip.
Since the rice is going to take the longest we'll start with that. Measure equal amounts of rice and water, bring water to a boil, cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 30 minutes. While the rice is cooking, let's prepare the tuna steaks.
Before cooking your tuna steaks, rinse them with cool water and them pat dry with paper towels. Season both sides of each tuna steak with a light, even sprinkle of sea salt. Heat your skillet to a medium-high heat. White skillet is heating, we'll get the asparagus going.
Pour about 1 cup of water in your steamer and arrange your asparagus as flat as possible so each piece gets a nice even steam bath. Heat water to boil and cover your set-up with a lid. Turn the asparagus with tongs now and then to make sure they cook evenly.
Add the tablespoonishs of oil, add the butter and peppercorns and cook until it all sizzles and the peppercorns begin to pop and sound like itty-bitty pieces of popcorn (back up or duck if necessary to avoid peppercorn projectiles).
Add the tuna steaks one at a time. If they don’t sizzle when they hit the pan, your pan isn’t hot enough. This will "steam" rather than "sear" your tuna... and that will not be good. Reduce heat to medium low and cook steaks uncovered for three to four minutes per side, turning only once.
Be careful not to overcook the tuna steaks. The fish should flake when tested with a fork but it should still be pink in the center.
While tuna steaks are cooking, combine Soy Sauce, Rice Vinegar and Sesame Oil. This is going to be your dipping sauce for the tuna steaks.
Now for the plating!
As explained by Escoffier, the online international culinary academy, “a new study by Oxford University shows that artfully presented food really does taste better. “Techniques and ingredients are only half the story, and how you present them on a plate can often be the difference between a classic dish and one that is just “meh.’”
The photo here shows one idea. Place a serving of rice on the plate to start, sprinkle with fresh parsley and then nestle one of your tuna steaks up against the rice. Arrange your asparagus and serve the dipping sauce right on the plate in a small bowl or ramekin.
Well, there you have it!
Give this recipe a whirl and let me know what you think. Or, better yet, add something new to the recipe and come back and share it with us! Don’t forget to send pictures of your plated culinary masterpiece!
Have a recipe you’d like to share? Send it along with some photos and I just might post it!
Until next time… Happy Cooking!