Ahi Tuna with Tomato, Mint & Basil Vinaigrette

July 24, 2009

A man taking basil from a woman will love her always.
~Sir Thomas Moore

This is admittedly not in keeping with the Tour, but it is a seasonal offering. Tomorrow is the next to last stage with the critical climb up Mont Ventoux, so I will return to France—always the migratory instinct. Oh, to be a tern.

GRILLED AHI TUNA WITH TOMATO, MINT & BASIL VINAIGRETTE

Fresh ahi tuna fillets, thickly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper and white pepper
4 T fresh basil leaves, chopped
8 T fresh mint leaves, chopped
1/2 C extra virgin olive oil

3 ripe medium tomatoes, cored, seeded and chopped
4 plump, fresh cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
1 T fresh lime juice
1 T sherry vinegar
1 T minced fresh parsley
2 medium shallots, peeled and finely minced
Sea salt

Basil sprigs and nicoise olives, to garnish

Season the tuna fillets all over with black and white pepper. In a shallow dish, stir together 4 tablespoons of the olive oil and 2 tablespoons each of the mint and basil. Coat the tuna pieces in the oil and herbs to coat them. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 4 hours.

In a mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes and garlic with the remaining mint and basil, lime juice, sherry vinegar, parsley, and shallots. Drizzle in remaining olive oil, whisking vigorously, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate so the flavors coalesce.

Preheat the barbeque grill to medium high. Retrieve the tuna and the tomato mixture from the refrigerator and allow them to rest at room temperature until the grill is ready for cooking.

Lightly sprinkle the tuna pieces all over with salt. Grill the tuna about 2-4 minutes per side until seared on the outside and still rare in the center.

To serve, spoon a layer of the tomato mint mixture onto the centers of the serving plates. Slice the tuna filets and fan them over the vinaigrette. Garnish with basil sprigs and olives.

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