Need Help / Ideas - Tuna Dinner Redux
Strange, I know I posted a thread on the first tuna dinner chez moi a couple years ago, but I can't find it on GW. Was hoping to refer to it.
Anyway, my esteemed neighbor has brought back another whole albacore tuna, direct from the flash freezers on the fishing boats that work from the Oregon coast. It sits in his freezer and we will have a neighborhood tuna feed on Sep 15th.
The idea behind these tuna dinners is that I defrost the fish, quarter it into loins, then halve each loin for eight blocks of tuna, each close to two pounds. Each block is used to make a different tuna dish, which is served tapas or izakaya style on little (paper) plates to 20 or so guests. Exact guest count TBA but it's basically the neighborhood plus a couple more.
A friend will contribute a keg of beer. Kids will roast sausages and maybe kabobs in the fire pit, so I don't have to care whether they like tuna or not. I will get Peter John from across the street to bring a meat dish, maybe some lamb. Since his partner hates lamb, poor PJ seizes the opportunity to make it for every neighbor function. Someone will bring vegetables and someone else dessert. SWMBO will make a pot of sangria.
It will be our goodbye to summer, a last chance to eat outside before the rains start and we all turn to depressive, snarling prunes.
With everything else handled, I just have to deal with the tuna. The criteria for the dishes is (1) easy to prepare (2) able to be turned out at the rate of one dish every 15 minutes, either through making-ahead or by being very quick-cooking, and (3) interesting. We are not trying to stick to a particular cuisine.
"Experimental" is good. I will buy a couple pounds of sashimi tuna and do a test batch of any dish that sounds dicey. "Daring" is good. I'm not going to all this work to eat tuna salad sandwiches. Even "potentially disgusting" is fine - I'm not going to care if some finicky guest only likes seven of eight tuna dishes. I spit on their food phobias, there!
I cannot remember all the dishes we tried last time. A few that are recollectable were:
- Marinated in tangy soy and sesame sauce, crusted with sesame seeds, blasted over the hottest flame I could produce, for 30 seconds a side, sliced and served with more tangy dipping sauce. We used a charcoal chimney starter, connected a blow dryer to the lower vents, and generated a rocket of flame from the top. Very fun. I think we'll do this again. It is very quick.
- Simmered in sake and dashi for about 60 seconds, served with a teriyaki like sauce. We'll do this again too. Again, meets the criteria of quickness.
- Spicy tuna hand rolls. I didn't do a very good job of this but will try once more. This will need to be part-prepared ahead. Or I can just make regular sushi rolls. Or sashimi. Need inspiration! Maybe tuna and unagi (eel). Or tuna and tamagoyaki (sweet Japanese omelette)? It has to be colorful. And sufficiently or partly make-ahead, like two hours ahead.
- Tuna in a salad. If we do this again, it could be a salade nicoise. Or raw tuna in a vinegared beet salad. Or . . . ?. The salad will be my make ahead "safety buffer" dish. You know, when you trip on the cat and the next dish goes crashing down in a shattering of glass and yowling vertebrae, you're clutching your bloody hand while stuffing kitty down the disposal, and the clock is ticking and the lynch mob is forming - you need a pinch hitter of a dish that you can grab and fling to the hordes to buy yourself another 15 minutes.
- and there my memory ends.
I need four more tuna dishes.
I will start searching the cookbooks but any ideas will be greatly appreciated. Has anyone made a tuna soup, perhaps? Is there a way to tempura deep fry tuna without over cooking it, maybe by half-freezing it first? Do tuna and hollandaise sauce play together? How about tuna and bacon? Can tuna be grilled? Does it cure into "lox" well? There's always tuna ice cream, which I think failed to figure out last time, we could have another go?
I will have the whole tuna, so can I make something fun from the skin? The tail? The head? The organs? The eyeballs? Tuna liver and heart pate, anyone?