Tuna & Meyer Lemon Confit, White Bean Puree
Yesterday's post about meyer lemon recipes prompted several readers to leave me even more good suggestions in the comments section. One of them, from Allen at Eating Out Loud proved irresistible. He said "[I] enjoy it more in savory dishes. I like cooked/flaked tuna tossed with chopped kalamata olives, red onion, a bit of celery, meyer lemon zest, fresh black pepper, and a good dose of extra virgin olive oil." His suggestion led to remind me of a wonderful thing I'd eaten just over a week ago at The Restaurant Whore's Birthday party, held at The Slow Club and cooked by my new food crush Serpentine Chef Chris Kronner. Amongst other delicious appetizers, such as perfectly cooked slabs of juicy steak, the freshest of Caesar salads, charcuterie, olives and irresistible flat breads straight from the oven (I've never seen Fred return to a buffet so many times), were the morsels that interested me the most: Plates of grilled toast topped with white bean puree and tuna confit.
I took a leaf out of both their books then added my own leaf and made a delicious (albeit rather late) lunch. First up was Meyer lemon confit from a suggestion in the LA Times - three thinly sliced Meyer lemons in a small pan, covered in olive oil and left over a low, low heat for an hour. I removed the lemon slices to cool and added a tuna steak to the lemony oil. I left it at the same, low temperature for about half an hour (turning once, at half time), until the fish was barely cooked all the way through. I removed it from the pan and left it to cool too. In the meantime I had soaked half a pound of Rancho Gordo's Giant White Lima beans in cold water for an hour. I added them to a large pan with plenty of water, a few sage leaves and a whole head of garlic, sliced straight through the center. I brought them to the boil and then let them bubble for 45 minutes until they were soft. I drained, them, reserving the cooking liquid, and scooping out the softened garlic cloves from their skin. I discarded the outside of the garlic and the sage leaves, leaving the beans and garlic to cool before pureeing them together in the blender with plenty of salt, pepper and enough of the reserved cooking liquid to smooth the puree.
My open sandwich was quick to assemble. Some flat-leaved parsley, a few slices of the oily lemon confit, pitted Nicoise olives and a large shallot, all roughly chopped and haphazardly mixed together with flaked pieces of the tuna, a few small capers, a crack of black pepper and some Maldon salt. I brushed both sides of a thick slice of Acme Levain with some of the leftover lemony oil I had used to poach the tuna and threw it on the panini maker for a grilling. Once that was ready, I simply spread it with the bean puree and then topped it with the confit.
Just perfect. Fresh, bright, glorious. It almost made me feel better. Time for another hot toddy?
© 2008 Sam Breach Tuna & Meyer Lemon Confit, White Bean Puree