Around the world in 80 dishes No. 60: Tuna with red onion, tomato and sweet vinegar

Ingredients to serve 4

6 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, cut into fine matchsticks
3 red onions (about 400g), sliced into 5-10mm wedges along the grain of the onion
4 fresh bay leaves
600g skinless fresh tuna loin or monkfish, cut in 3cm cubes
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
350g cherry tomatoes, blanched, peeled, quartered and seeded
300g drained cooked judion beans (150g dry weight), or use cooked butter beans or cannellini beans
1 tablespoon sweet red wine vinegar, such as Forum Cabernet Sauvignon (or any good red wine vinegar with a pinch of sugar)

Method

On the "hots" section of the restaurant, this is probably the chefs' most popular dish to cook. The onions should not be too soft or have lost too much colour, the tuna should be cooked to perfection, and the tomatoes heated just enough to release a little juice without turning to a mush. A good splash of vinegar lifts the whole plate, without being dominant. The result is almost like a warm salad.

Heat 4 tablespoons of the oil in a medium saucepan over a low heat and fry the garlic till crisp and golden brown (take care not to let it burn). Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the onions and bay leaves to the still-hot pan with a good pinch of salt and increase the heat to medium. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring often, until the onions are softened and starting to brown. Set aside.

Minutes before you are ready to serve, place a very wide pan over a high heat until smoking. Season the tuna with salt and pepper. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan and sear the tuna briskly on 2 sides – they will only need about a minute per side. Add the cooked onions, half the oregano, the tomatoes, the beans and the vinegar and sauté for a minute more, until everything is warmed through (the tuna should be quite pink in the middle).

Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle over the remaining oregano and the crispy garlic and serve immediately.

From 'Moro East' by Sam & Sam Clark (Ebury Press, £17.50)

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