In recent weeks Thornton’s has been serving yellowfin tuna and swordfish caught off the south-west coast of Ireland. A lot of the tuna available in Ireland is imported from abroad, from countries such as Indonesia, but I like to use Irish fish.
Small amounts of fresh Irish tuna and swordfish are available from good fishmongers at this time of year and, as fresh tuna is so much tastier than the canned variety, it is well worth seeking out.
Tuna flesh is similar to swordfish both in colour and in texture. Fresh tuna can be eaten raw, grilled, pan-fried or cured. I like it raw (tuna tartare) with diced shallots, lemon juice and fresh horseradish. For those who prefer tuna well done, it is best to cook it slowly. This recipe is simple, tasty and the dressing complements the fish beautifully.
Grilled yellowfin tuna with ratatouille, soy and ginger dressing
Ingredients, serves four
4 tuna steaks
100g girolle mushrooms (optional), cleaned and cut in half
1 shallot diced
15ml rice wine
20ml soy sauce
5ml sesame oil
50ml sunflower oil
1 shallot, finely diced
5g chopped fresh dill
Juice of one lime
5 slices of preserved ginger, finely diced
Juice of 1 lemon
Fresh milled pepper
Make the dressing by placing the dill, shallots, ginger, lime juice, lemon juice, soy sauce, rice wine, sunflower oil, sesame oil into a bowl and mixing well. Season and mix again. Correct seasoning if necessary.
1 medium courgette, thinly sliced
1 aubergine, sliced
1 red pepper, de-seeded and sliced
1 green pepper, de-seeded and sliced
5 plum tomatoes, blanched and skinned
1 white onion, diced
Half a clove garlic, crushed
10ml olive oil
4 basil leaves
1. Sauté the onions in a little olive oil until lightly brown. Add the aubergine and peppers and cook for a few minutes. Add the courgette, tomatoes and garlic. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. Heat a separate pan and add a drop of olive oil. Place the basil leaves in the pan and cook for a few seconds. Remove and place them on kitchen paper to absorb the oil. Season lightly.
3. To cook the tuna, heat a grill pan. Season the tuna steaks and drizzle with olive oil and lay them on the hot grill. After two minutes turn the steaks over (they should be nicely marked at this point) and cook other side for two minutes.
4. Squeeze the juice of a lemon over the steaks. The fish is ready to serve at this stage although if you prefer tuna well done, place the steaks in a hot oven (170 degrees C) for a further five minutes.
5. Sauté the girolles in a little olive oil on a hot pan, add diced shallot and cook until the liquid has evaporated.
6. To assemble the dish, spoon ratatouille around the plate. Spoon the mushrooms into the middle of the plate and place the tuna steak on top. Sprinkle dressing around the plate.
Kevin Thornton is a Michelin-starred chef and owner of Thornton’s Restaurant on St Stephen’s Green in Dublin.