Adapted from All About Braising by Molly Stevens
Tuna and chickpeas simmered together over low heat in a delicious soupy broth of chicken stock and rosemary and garlic-infused olive oil make an unbeatable combination. Nutty creamy chickpeas and moist, barely pink tuna, with a hint of bitterness from the radicchio, become the perfect dinner with salad and bread for sopping up the flavorful braising liquid. Or serve at room temperature, on a bed of greens for lunch. Or include on an antipasto platter.
However you enjoy it, finish the dish with a generous drizzle of good olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice and sprinkle of coarse sea salt.
Makes 4 servings
1-3/4 pounds Day Boat tuna medallions (from 2 small loins)
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons coarsely chopped rosemary plus more for garnish
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 small head radicchio (about 6 ounces)
1 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1-1/2 cups chickpeas, drained (and rinsed if from a can)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped Italian parsley
Remove the tuna loin(s) from the freezer 30 to 45 minutes before you begin to prepare the recipe. Allow it to defrost on the counter before cutting into 1-1/4 inch medallions. Place medallions in a single layer on a plate and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Combine the olive oil, garlic, rosemary and pepper flakes in a 10 to 12-inch skillet with high sides and a fitted lid. Heat over lowest possible heat, covered, until the garlic becomes fragrant, soft and lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Check frequently that the garlic isn’t frying or browning in the oil. Set aside.
Cut the radicchio in half and use a paring knife to remove the core. Place the halves cut side down and slice into 1/2-inch thick ribbons. Add the shredded radicchio to the pan, increase the heat to medium and saute, stirring occasionally, until the radicchio is wilted, about 5 minutes.
Add the stock, lemon juice, chickpeas and a generous pinch of salt to the pan. Bring to a simmer, cover and let cook gently for 8 to 10 minutes, to allow the flavors to develop.
Season the tuna on both sides with salt and pepper, and set on top of the chickpeas and radicchio. Reduce the heat to low, cover and braise gently, checking every once in a while to make certain the liquid is simmering gently, not boiling. After 6 to 8 minutes the medallions should be cooked about halfway through. This will be apparent as the top half will still be pink, and the cooked portion sitting in the simmering liquid, chickpeas and radicchio will be opaque and white-ish, about halfway up the medallions.
Slide a slotted spatula under the medallions and turn them, allowing the ingredients from below to cover them. After they’ve all been turned, the medallions should be smothered with the chickpeas and radicchio. Replace the lid and continue to braise gently until the medallions are cooked through, another 4 to 6 minutes. They’re at their best and most moist with there’s a trace of pink in the center of the medallion.
To serve, place a medallion or two each in warm shallow pasta bowls. Stir the parsley into the pan, season to taste with additional salt and pepper and spoon the soupy chickpeas and radicchio, and plenty of broth, over the tuna pieces. Drizzle with some good olive oil, squeeze some lemon over top and finish with a pinch of coarse sea salt.