In 2005 Sandy and I took a two week trip to Italy. We started in Venice and worked our way down through Tuscany, Rome and The Amalfi Coast to Sicily. We were married less than two years at the time and didn’t have children yet, so it was the perfect time in our lives for that type of trip. It goes without saying that there were many memorable meals along the way. One such meal was at Osteria da Fiore in Venice.
The best stories about eating while travelling are usually the ones where you just stumbled upon a humble little hidden gem after asking a local in the street. This is not one of those stories. I had planned our dinner at Da Fiore well ahead of time, making a reservation before we even left America. I loved the Da Fiore cookbook and had to go eat there in person. This actually had the potential of being quite the opposite type of story, a lot of build up and hype only to be disappointed. Thankfully, it did not turn out that way. It definitely wasnt cheap, but it was everything I expected, and one of my favorite meals not only of that Italy trip, but of all time.
In the six years since that trip we have had three children. Needless to say another trip to Italy, let alone a romantic dinner for two in Venice, is not in the cards any time soon. So we have to take advantage of the night the two oldest sleep at their grandmother’s and the 1 year old goes down early, by reliving one of the dishes from that legendary dinner, Seared Tuna with Rosemary Oil, at home.
This recipe makes a lot more rosemary oil than you need for the dish, but it keeps for a few months if sealed well and kept in a cool dark place.
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil plus 1 tablespoon for cooking the tuna
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary plus 1 or two sprigs for garnish
- 2 teaspoons crushed hot red pepper
- 1 garlic clove
- 1–1/2 pounds tuna loin
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- At least one day in advance, prepare the rosemary oil by combining 1 cup olive oil, rosemary, crushed red pepper, garlic and salt to taste. Cover tightly and let stand overnight. Strain the oil through a fine mesh sieve into a clean jar, and seal until ready to use.
- Cut the tuna loin into four even pieces, and season with salt & pepper.
- Heat the tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pieces of tuna to the pan and sear on all sides, about 1 minute per side, for medium-rare.
- Using a sharp knife cut the tuna into 1/4 slices. Arrange on serving plates and drizzle with the rosemary oil. Chop up the remaining sprigs of rosemary, sprinkle on top for garnish, and serve.
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