I had a craving today for a blackened tuna caesar salad, just like Mom used to make. Okay, okay, my mother never made any such thing. But it seemed like that dish used to be common fare in restaurants, and I haven’t seen it offered in years. Well, it’s Sunday, and I own the Joy of Cooking, right? So, I wrote down some ingredients, made a trip to Whole Foods (an upscale grocery in the area) and bought an assortment of veggies, fresh spices, anchovies, parmesan, and a tuna filet.
During the heat of the day I watched a DVD and plucked basil so I could make home-made pesto for later in the week. Then I made up fresh caesar dressing and mixed together spices for the tuna dredge. It finally got cool enough to do the final cooking for dinner around 6:00 pm.
I’ve done a blackened fish before out on the grill, (What was that? Tuna? Catfish?) but this is the first time I’ve done it indoors in cast iron as the JoC suggests. The instructions have a specific warning about running the stove fan exhaust on high and pulling the battery from the smoke detectors. Heh. Small wonder; you’re supposed to put the heat on high and let the pan reach full heat for about five minutes. When the fish hits the pan, smoke starts rolling too thick to see. I clamped the lid on the pan, waited and hoped. The timer sounded, I opened the lid to a cloud of smoke, found the fillet to flip, closed things up and waited again.
Anyway, the tuna came out excellent! The salad was a total success, and the sourdough bread I toasted to go with it was surprisingly good. My date was suitably impressed, and it all came together easier than I would have guessed.
And, I have homemade pesto for tomorrow night. I think I’m going to try a creamy pesto-gorgonzola sauce for pasta. Let the drooling begin.