Thursday, March 5, 2009

Do you guys ever do cooking demos?

Maybe you missed it...but that's okay because you are going to hear aaaaaall about it. Yep, Grill-A-Chef recently gave their first cooking demo in the Chelsea Market and it was a great success. So much that they will probably happen about once a month, so stay tuned! Some of the Market's vendors were kind enough to donate a bunch of beautiful ingredients and they were cooked up and shared with everyone and anyone who came by.
The theme of the event was 'Tuna-Two-Ways' and each chef created a dish that would show off the quick, easy versatility of tuna. In one recipe, a high quality canned tuna starred in a Mediterranean salad and for the other, slices of fresh, pan-seared tuna were draped over seasoned rice noodles. A fabulous wine pairing included a full bodied Catalonian white which accompanied the bright salad and a slightly sweet Riesling that perfectly grounded the spicy Thai flavors.
For the tuna salad, Chef Josh chose an Italian tuna packed in olive oil. The tuna itself is much darker and meatier than standard canned tuna with flavor so rich, it is truly the next best thing to fresh. This healthy gourmet version of the lunchtime standard need not be smothered by condiments in order to be delicious. The crowd was pleased as Josh tossed together a few simple and classic ingredients (staying true to the tuna's European roots) such as capers, olives, tomatoes and mounded it onto bread rounds... recipe below.
On the other side of the cutting board, Chef Ori butchered the tuna steaks into medallions and quickly seared them in a hot cast iron skillet. The (cooked) noodles were drizzled with a homemade dressing and with few sliced veggies tossed in, a complete meal is born.

For the Salad:
1 pound fresh tuna cut into 8 rectangles
2 tablespoons canola or other high heat oil
6 ounces rice noodles* (cooked as directed on the package)
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 carrots, grated
1/2 cup bean sprouts
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup sesame seeds

For the Sauce:
1 clove garlic
1 small red chili or 1/2 jalapeno pepper
5 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 lime, juiced
salt and pepper

• Make sauce: Mince the garlic and chili and place in a lidded container. Add the other sauce ingredients and put the lid on. Shake vigorously until all ingredients are well combined. Adjust seasoning. (You can also make in a blender/processor.)
• Cook tuna: Heat oil to almost smoking over a high heat. Sprinkle tuna pieces with salt and pepper. Lay pieces in the hot pan and sear on each side briefly until desired temperature (just a few seconds on each side for rare, longer for medium, etc).
• Assemble salad: Pour half of the sauce over the cooked, drained noodles, divide between (4) plates. Toss remaining salad ingredients and the rest of the sauce together and arrange on top of noodles. Top with seared tuna. Serves 4.
* Look for the thin, clear rice noodles also labeled ‘vermicelli’. Can usually be prepared by soaking in hot water until softened.

12 ounces tuna packed in oil from a can or jar, drained
2 tablespoons red onion, chopped
1 teaspoon capers, chopped
¼ cup kalamata olives, pitted
2 teaspoon chopped parsley
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper to taste

• One step only! Simply mix the prepared ingredients together in a bowl and enjoy!

Thx to: Chelsea Market, The Lobster Place, Chelsea Thai, Manhattan Fruit Exchange, Buon Italia, the Cleaver Company and Chelsea Wine Vault for the stellar libations:

Also big blog thx to: Matt for being a helper and Jeremy for the photos!
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