Saturday, March 17, 2012

Tuna with Tomatoes and Capers with Spinach, Beans, and Prunes

This tuna dish is simple and quick. It doesn't have many ingredients and if you like your tuna rare like me, there isn't a lot of cooking time. If you heave nice piece of fish, the sauce is tangy and flavorful but won't mask the taste of the meat.  I served it with a healthy side dish of spinach, kidney beans, and prunes.

I made the spinach dish because I wanted to use the rest of my prunes left over from my Cornish game hen meal.  I'd never used them before and I didn't want them to languish in my pantry until they fossilized.  My husband and I disagreed about how good the spinach dish was.   I loved it.  I would make it again. I love spinach!  I thought the sweet prunes were interesting and I thought they were a good addition to the earthiness of the spinach and beans.  My husband really hates fruit as part of dinner, so he was not a fan of the prunes at all. If you don't like sweetness in your veggies (or hate fruit in general), skip the prunes.  The side dish is vegetarian and I think that it's hearty enough for a main dish if you make extra. 

Grilled Tuna with Tomatoes and Capers
From The New Book of Middle Eastern Food
Serves 2

4 Tbsp olive oil
2 tuna steaks
salt and pepper
juice of 1 lemon
2 tomatoes, diced
2 Tbsp capers, rinsed to remove excess salt or vinegar (I added a little extra)

1) Coat a skillet with some of the oil.  Cook the tuna steaks on high heat for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, depending on how think they are.  The meat should still be dark inside.
2) Put the rest of the oil and remaining ingredients in a pan and heat until almost boiling.  Serve over the tuna setaks.

The books suggests two variations: add 1/8 cup chopped cilantro or a crushed garlic clove with 1/4 tsp harissa. 

Spinach and Prunes with Beans (Aloo Sfenaj
From The New Book of Middle Eastern Food
Serves 2 

1 lb spinach
1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/8 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup pitted prunes
1/2 cup red kidney beans (the book also suggests black eyed peas) - I used canned
salt and pepper

1) Wash and drain the spinach.  Remove tough stems.
2) Heat the oil in a large pan and then cook the onion until it's golden.  Then add the turmeric and cinnamon.  Stir and add the prunes and beans.  Cover with water and cook until the beans are soft 20 to 30 minutes. 
3) Add the spinach to the pan and cover and cook until it becomes soft and wilted.  Seas with salt and pepper, stir, and then cook uncovered for 5 more minutes. 

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