Good God this dish was lovely. I’m sorry for how immodest that must sound – but I can assure you, the results were nothing to do with my skills in the kitchen (i.e. zero) and all to do with a wonderful recipe and fabulous flavour combinations.
Skordalia, it transpires, is a garlicky Greek dip of sorts, which in this case has been combined with potato to make an intensely flavoursome mash. The soft, creaminess of it works just perfectly with the veggies and tuna and I just insist you try it!
To begin with, tomatoes and aubergines are slowly roasted in oil, balsamic vinegar and herbs. Meanwhile, you boil the potatoes, mash them (the recipe calls for a potato ricer, but I don’t have one, so – oh well) and keep them on a low heat. You add a mixture of garlic, oil and cream into the potatoes in what is a slow but strangely therapeutic process, then season. Skordalia is not for the faint of heart (or should I say, of arteries) and may well fall into that ‘once in a while treat’ category, but hell, I’d eat it every day if I could.
The magic of the tuna is in the glaze. The so-far naked fish is added to a very hot pan and seared in the usual way – but in the last few seconds you douse it with a gold old slosh of balsamic vinegar, which produces a divine, sharp coating. Then it’s simply a case of stacking the whole thing up – tuna on top of veggies on top of skordalia. Magnificent!
Here is the recipe I followed, adapted from Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons by Diana Henry:
- 4 tuna steaks
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- balsamic vinegar
- flat leaf parsley to serve
For the veggies:
- 10 plum tomatoes
- 2tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1st caster sugar
- 2 aubergines
- 1tsp dried oregano
For the skordalia:
- 450g potatoes
- 3 crushed garlic cloves
- 1 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 175ml extra virgin olive oil
- 30ml double cream
1. Cut each tomato in half lengthways and put them into a small roasting tin. Add half the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and turn the tomatoes to coat evenly. Finish with them split side up. Sprinkle with the sugar, season and begin roasting in a 200c (400F) oven while you prepare the aubergines.
2. Cut each aubergine into slices about 1cm thick, then quarter each slice. Stir these chunks around in a bowl with the rest of the vinegar and oil and, once the tomatoes have roasted for 20 mins, add the aubergine, sprinkle with orgeano and roast for another 20 mins. Once the veggies are done, if need be you can let them sit in foil for an hour or so, as they are fine served tepid (apparently!)
3. For the skordalia, cook the potatoes in boiling water until tender. Drain, mash roughly, and push through a potato ricer. Put the mash back in the saucepan on a low heat. Add the garlic and vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Pour in the olive oil very gradually, beating as you go, until its amalgamated. Add the cream and check the seasoning. Take the pan off the heat, but cover it to keep the skordalia warm.
4. Just before you want to serve, brush each piece of tuna with oil and season. Heat a griddle pan until its very hot. Cook the fish for about 1 1/2 minutes on each side – this will give you tuna which is like rare steak. Cook it for longer if you prefer it more well done. In the final seconds, throw on a good slosh of balsamic vinegar and let it bubble away, turning once in the vinegar to get a wonderful glaze.
5. Put some skordalia on aplate with a mound of roast vegetables on top and then your tuna.