Friday, July 24, 2009

Conscientious Cooking

The thought of mercury in your seafood is enough to ruin anyone’s appetite.

That’s why Damon Stainbrook, former sous chef of French Laundry, is leading the charge in a new “conscientious cooking” movement. He’s working with mercury certification program, Safe Harbor, to ensure the fish used in his delicious recipes meets strict standards for mercury content and is caught using only sustainable methods – verified through its traceability program.

He’d like to share the following recipe and let people know that there is a way to create delicious, healthy and sustainable dinners.

Anyone wishing to create this recipe with Safe Harbor-certified fish can do so at any local Andronico’s, DeLano’s, Woodlands Market, and The Fish Market. If these retailers aren’t nearby, those wishing to prepare the recipe should be careful if purchasing Bluefin tuna, Canned white/Albacore and imported bigeye/yellowfin tuna caught by longline as they tend to have higher mercury levels.

Grilled Tuna Zucchini Pasta and Artichoke Sauce


· 4 tuna steaks, 6 ounces each

· Kosher salt

· Black pepper

· oil

Zucchini pasta:

· 4 cups Julienne green and gold Zucchini

· 2 tsp kosher salt

Artichoke Sauce:

· 16 oz peel, seeded and diced tomatoes

· 1 medium yellow onion diced

· 3 cloves garlic minced

· 1 tsp kosher salt

· 1 cup diced marinated baby artichokes

· 1 to 2 teaspoons finely minced hot or mild chile pepper, or to taste

· ¼ cup chopped fresh basil

· Black pepper to taste

Black Olive Tapenade:

· 1 cups pitted Kalamata olives chopped (or olives of your liking)

· 1 big garlic clove minced

· 1 Tbls capers

· ¼ cup fresh Basil leaves chopped

· ¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley chopped

· Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

· 1 tablespoon red or white wine vinegar

· ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

· Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Combine all Tapenade ingredients, tasting and adding salt and pepper to taste. Cover and let stand at room temperature before serving. Makes 1 ½ cups

Julienne the Zucchini into long thin pasta like shape. Toss with salt and let sit in colander for 15 minutes. Zucchini will soften to an al dente consistency.

To make the sauce cook onion and garlic with salt over low heat in a heavy bottom pot until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and simmer for thirty minutes. Add artichokes, chile pepper and basil and simmer another ten minutes. Add black pepper to taste and set sauce aside to cool.

Right before grilling tuna toss the sauce and zucchini together in large bowl.

Pull tuna steaks out of fridge fifteen minutes before cooking which will help to keep the tuna from sticking to the grill (If using). Season Tuna steaks with Salt and Pepper, then brush lightly with oil.

Lightly brush a grill rack, or broiler pan with a little oil. Grill tuna over coals medium high heat. Turn after about 2-3 minutes for rare tuna, 4 to 6 minutes for more medium to well done. Tuna should maintain a pink center, but will flake easily around edges.

To finish twist equal portions of pasta onto four plates, top with grilled tuna and tablespoon of tapenade.

~ Serves four.

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