Chef Michael Symon’s Cured Tuna

Ahi combines with fennel, olives, oranges, and olive brine for incredible results.

We know the man has a way with pig.

After all, whenever you see Chef Michael Symon on TV, he’s usually talking or cooking pork. Who can blame this Midwestern chef with his acclaimed Cleveland restaurants, Lola and Lolita, for having such a porcine love affair?

There’s a whole lot more than pig in his new cookbook, “Michael Symon’s Live to Cook” (Clarkson Potter). Sure, you’ll find the likes of roasted rack of pork with grilled peaches and chestnut honey vinaigrette, not to mention pappardelle with pig’s head ragu.

But you’ll also find everything from sheep’s milk ravioli with brown butter and almonds, and veal chop Milanese with arugula salad to the colorful “Lightly Cured Tuna with Olives, Orange, and Shaved Fennel” (photo above).

Sushi-grade tuna is cured in olive brine, of all things, for spectacular results in this Japanese-meets-Mediterranean dish. This first course is light, bright and so very vibrant.

Michael Symon’s Lightly Cured Tuna with Olives, Oranges and Fennel

(Serves 4 to 6)

1/4 cup picholine olive brine
1/3 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
1 pound sushi-quality yellow fin tuna, thinly sliced across the grain
3 ounces (about 18) picholine olives, pitted and slivered
Freshly ground black pepper
1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced
2 Meyer lemons, zested
In a glass baking dish or a wide, shallow, nonreactive bowl, mix together olive brine and lemon juice. Gently toss in tuna slices and olive slivers. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, occasionally moving tuna slices around gently in marinade to ensure that slices cure evenly.
Just before serving, strain the tuna slices from marinade. Divide tuna between 4 to 6 appetizer plates. Spoon a little marinade (with olive slivers) over the tuna. Grind black pepper, to taste, over each serving. Garnish with fennel and lemon zest, and serve immediately.
From “Michael Symon’s Live to Cook” by Michael Symon


Another Great Fish Dish: Fish Cakes with Caper-Parsley Sauce

An Asian Dish Using Dried Fish: Steamed Pork Cake (hom yu jing jiu yok bang)

Another Can’t-Be-Beat Citrusy Main Course: Fennnel: Braised Pork with Orange and Fennel

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