Tuna Confit With Black Olive Tapenade and Tomato Salsa

Tuna Confit with Black Olive Tapenade and Tomato Salsa  

For the tuna confit:  
   1 pound tuna steak, bones removed  
   1 large or two small preserved lemons, halved, pitted and thinly sliced, plus 1 tablespoon of their liquid  
   6 sun-dried tomatoes (dry or oil-packed), shredded  
   3 medium cloves garlic, smashed  
   2 scallions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced crosswise  
   1 rib celery, trimmed and thinly sliced crosswise  
   3 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, trimmed and coarsely chopped  
   1 sprig thyme leaves, coarsely chopped  
   1 sprig rosemary leaves, finely chopped  
   1 1/2 teaspoons fleur de sel or fine sea salt  
   1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste  
   Finely grated zest and juice of 2 lemons  
   1 cup extra-virgin olive oil  
For the tapenade:  
   1/2 cup pitted, oil-cured black olives  
    1 anchovy, drained  
   Finely grated zest and juice of 1/4 lemon, plus more as needed  
   Pinch rosemary (fresh or dried), plus more as needed  
   Pinch thyme (fresh or dried), plus more as needed  
   Pinch cayenne pepper or piment d'Espelette, plus more as needed  
   1 tablespoon olive oil, or more as needed  
For the salsa:  
   1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved horizontally  
   1/2 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice  
   1 tablespoon finely minced preserved lemon  
   3 Peppadew peppers, from a jar, finely diced (optional)  
   1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil  
   1 1/2 teaspoons liquid from the preserved lemons  
   Pinch cayenne pepper or piment d'Espelette  
   Fleur de sel or fine sea salt  
 
 
For the tuna confit:
Cut the tuna portion in half so that it will fit into a 9-inch nonreactive baking dish or loaf pan, such as Pyrex brand. (You can use a 9-inch-square Pyrex dish, but depending on the size of the tuna, you might have to use more oil to make sure the tuna and seasonings are submerged.) Set aside.
Combine the ingredients, except for the liquid from the preserved lemons, the lemon juice and the olive oil, in the nonreactive baking dish or loaf pan, stirring to combine. Place the tuna in the mixture and use your hands to spread the seasoning evenly over the fish.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the liquid from the preserved lemons, the lemon juice and the olive oil. Pour over the tuna and stir to mix well. Cover the baking dish or loaf pan tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 2 days.

For the tapenade:
Combine the ingredients in the bowl of a mini food processor. (You can also do this in a standard blender or with a hand-held blender.) Pulse, scraping down the bowl as needed, until the olives are pureed. For a slightly thinner consistency, add the olive oil drop by drop. Taste and add herbs, pepper or lemon juice, as desired. Cover and store in the refrigerator until needed.

For the salsa:
Combine the ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well. Cover and keep at room temperature, or refrigerate for up to 2 hours.

Putting it all together:
Remove the tuna from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
Remove the plastic wrap from the tuna dish and mix the liquid and seasonings. Put the pan on the baking sheet, cover the tuna with a sheet of parchment paper and put a pot lid over it to keep the parchment in place. Bake for 1 hour; the tuna should be firm, and possibly rosy in the center. Transfer to the stovetop to cool.

To serve: Carefully transfer the tuna (only) to a cutting board. Cut the fish into long slices, the way you might cut beef, and place them on a serving platter. Spoon over some of the seasonings and cooking juices; put the rest in a bowl to be passed at the table. Top with salsa and a little tapenade; pass the rest of the tapenade at the table.
 
Servings: 4
 
Cooking Tips
Prep the tuna and let it marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. Make the tapenade, reserving 8 teaspoons for a same-day meal (see Sunday Supper). The tapenade may be refrigerated in an airtight container for at least 1 week.
 
Recipe Source
Author: Dorie Greenspan.

Source: The Washington Post, June 20, 2007