Alice Gao

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Bigeye Tuna with Heirloom Squash, Sugar Snap Peas, Yellow Squash Puree, Mint & Taggiasca Olive Oil

Jonathan Benno, Lincoln Ristorante, New York City - September 2014

For 6 servings

Yellow squash puree:

  • 2 yellow squash, very thinly sliced
  • 1/2 Tbsp. (1g) saffron
  • salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/4 cup (59ml) olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. (14g) roasted garlic puree
  1. Place squash, saffron, and 2 cups water in shallow saucepan set over high heat; season; cook until squash is softened; remove from heat; drain squash, reserving cooking liquid.

  2. Place squash in a blender; add oil and garlic puree; pulse to combine; with motor running, gradually add reserved cooking water; blend until puree is very smooth; place in a bowl set in ice water bath; cool; cover in airtight container; reserve.

Taggiasca olive oil:

  • 4 cups (920g) fresh Taggiasca olives, pitted
  • 1 cup (235ml) olive oil

Dehydrate olives in a dehydrator overnight (or bake on a baking sheet in oven at 100°F to 150°F); remove from dehydrator; place in a blender; with motor running, gradually add oil; blend until very smooth (this will take several minutes; you want it “motor oil” smooth); cool in a bowl set in ice water bath; cover in airtight container; reserve.

Squash & sugar snap peas:

  • 1/4 cup (59ml) canola oil
  • 6 cups (780g) mixed heirloom squash, cut into large dice
  • 3 cups (189g) mixed sugar snap peas
  • salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground
  • 3 Tbsps. mint, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsps. (30ml) olive oil

Heat canola oil in sauté pan set over medium-high heat; add squash and peas; season; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown but still crunchy; remove from heat; season; stir in mint; drizzle with olive oil; toss well; reserve.

Assembly:

  • 6 Tbsps. (90ml) canola oil
  • 6 1/2-lb. (227g) bigeye tuna steaks (about 1" thick)
  • salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground
  1. Heat oil in sauté pan or cast-iron skillet set over high heat; season steaks; sear until brown and crusty on outside; flip; cook until brown on other side (tuna should still be rare); remove from heat; reserve (keep warm).

  2. To serve, heat squash puree in a saucepan until warm; spoon onto serving plates to create a streak across each plate; mound sautéed squash and sugar snap peas on each plate; top with tuna; drizzle Taggiasca olive oil around.

What to drink: Askos Li Veli Verdeca-Minutolo 2013 Puglia
Chef’s Note: Alternatively, tuna steaks can be grilled or cooked in a grill pan. Cook 15 to 20 seconds; rotate steaks 90 degrees to create hash marks; flip; repeat on opposite side.