Tentatively out and about with Tony Goodman
This week its been all about the beach and exploring more of the Vallée d’Agly. An almost prehistoric, Jurassic landscape of rich valley floors bracketed by tall garrigue clad slate grey hills. The wines the valley produces are superb, and each vineyard produces something unique.
We received our second vaccination early in the week, just as previously we had no reaction whatsoever. While we have no doubt the vaccinations have caused problems for some, the worst part was sitting in the waiting room for the required 15 minutes post jab while the summer sun shone and lunch waited under the palm trees.
With a copy of Elaine Jacobs’s guide to central Perpignan in hand, we spent a good hour or so exploring the medieval centre. Its architecture, streetscapes and, of course, noting which stores had departed and new arrivals. Early in the week is the best time for a mooch when the streets are lightly populated. Small details can be seen. You can stop and take photos without risking life and limb. Judging by the scaffolding and the hum of power tools, there is plenty of refurbishment underway in central Perpignan. Great to see and hear.
It’s been decided by senior management that the weather is too pleasant for our usual Thursday Night murder. For the next few weeks we will have our Thursday night language sessions on the terrace discussing pre-selected topics over a light meal. This week’s topic was the surge in demand for biodynamic food and the increasing number of biodynamic stores, supermarkets and weekly open air markets.
We discussed whether the pandemic was a factor, as people sought out bio-foods, whether it was a result of the buy local theme or whether it came from the trend in biodynamic wines. We discussed impact on the environment of biodynamic food production ie discarded polytunnels plastic and the disparity between the price of standard fruit and vegetables and biodynamic fruit and vegetables. A surprising amount of new vocab was discovered.
The first and most important part of this recipe is please only buy your tuna from a reputable fishmonger, such as La Criée, to ensure it has been legally caught. Illegal fishing has seen the number of fish drop in some parts of the Mediterranean Sea, sustainable fishing needs consumers to play their part.
Select tuna steaks around an inch thick and if possible from the portion of the fish behind the cavity so the pieces are whole. If this is impossible, use a bamboo skewer to pins the loose flaps of the steak firmly in place.
An hour before cooking, combine lemon juice, half as much olive oil and one or two garlic cloves finely chopped, fresh thyme, salt and pepper in a deep wide bowl. A stainless steel mixing bowl is ideal. Rinse the tuna steaks quite well, dry thoroughly then place them in the bowl with the marinade. Place the bowl in the fridge for no more than an hour to ensure the marinade does not overwhelm the fish.
The secret to cooking the fish is plenty of heat so the outside is slightly seared while the core remains pink. Tuna and similar fish become dry if overcooked. Choose a non-stick pan which is able to slide under your grill. Start the grill then start the cooking process by frying the tuna in a little olive oil over a medium to hot flame. Give each side no more than a minute, then place the pan under the grill to secure the right amount of colour. Total cooking time should be around 5 – 6 minutes depending on the size of the steaks.
Garnish with something fresh and green such as parsley, watercress, rocket/arugula.
Serve with a generous salad and perhaps a few dry roasted potato wedges. Accompany with a slightly wooded white wine or even a light summer red such as a pinot noir or a Tempranillo. All of which can be found locally.