moro top ten: tuna with red onion, tomato and sweet vinegar

“on the “hots” section of the restaurant menu this is probably the chefs’ most popular dish to cook.”

i have all the moro cook books and moro east, the newest one, is, i am very ashamed to say, still uncooked from. well, it was until i made this, the first of my moro top dishes. 

it’s a warm salad of fresh tuna with lightly cooked tomatoes, white beans and red onions, all lifted by the tanginess of red wine vinegar, fresh oregano and crispy garlic shards.

so, how did i get on?

if you are cooking this dish you need to ensure you don’t get distracted as it’s very easy to overcook (and ruin) both the tuna and the garlic shards. get everything ready and then cook the tuna as briefly as you dare so it stays pink and juicy – it will cook through incredibly quickly.

apart from the need to be organised, the recipe is quick and easy – i used shallots instead of red onions and they were done in 5 minutes, rather than the suggested 15, which helped speed things up. i also skipped the blanching, deskinning and deseeding of the cherry tomatoes as it felt like far too much effort (i don’t think the dish suffered as a result).

the vinegar adds a lovely sweet n sour tang to everything and i really enjoyed this as a delicious light supper. leftovers were nice the next day, stored in the fridge and bought to room temperature before eating.

the final verdict:
would i have tried this recipe if it hadn't been part of the moro top ten?
yes – tomatoes and beans are always appealing and the “sweet vinegar” in the title was intriguing. the chinese-slicing technique for the onions so they retain their texture is also worth learning (see below).
would i try this recipe again in the future? yes – it’s easy, delicious and very healthy.

moro’s tuna with red onion and sweet vinegar (serves 4)

6 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, cut into fine matchsticks

3 red onions (about 400g), sliced chinese-style (see below)

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 of sweet red wine vinegar (or any good-quality red wine vinegar with a pinch of sugar)

heat 4 tbsp of the oil in a medium saucepan over a low heat and fry the garlic in this until crisp and golden brown (take care not to let it burn). remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and set aside for later. 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 beginning 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 tbsp of oil to the pan and sear the tuna briskly on two side – they will only need about a minute per side. add the cooked onions, half the oregano, the tomatoes, 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 warm serving dish, sprinkle over the remaining oregano and crispy garlic and serve immediately. 

chinese style onions: "when we prepare onions for most of our cooking, we slice them across the grain to allow them to soften as much as possible and become part of the background of the dish. occasionally, we want the visual and textural impact of the onion at the forefront of the dish, and then we cut it chinese-style, along the grain. to do this, halve and peel your onions, trimming away all of the hard root end. slice them into 5-10mm wedges along the grain. this makes a big difference to the end result."