What’s the difference between a fish and a piano?

I ask the question because I need something to hang this on. My piece of tuna is the shape (and nearly the size) of a baby grand. However, the answer does not lie there. I have been faffing around with this post for over a month now. I have procrastinated, prevaricated and generally beaten about the bush. It is not within me to just cook some food, photograph it and post it. I have to say something. The zing in this thing was the salsa verde. I followed a Jamie Oliver recipe pretty closely and it turned out very well. Then it would, would it not? He is one of the chefs who really is inventive and thoughtful. More than I can say about me and my bush beating. I will fill you in on the piano bit later. 

Though I brought very little to this recipe from my own inventiveness, I should be able to add a bit of sparkle through the photographs.

The herbs got the chop using the excellent two-handled herb chopper. Excellent because you can’t chop your finger off if you are holding both handles.

When the herbs are chopped and added to the other ‘dry’ ingredients they don’t look up to much. This despite the amazing range of tastes including, in alphabetical order: anchovies, basil, black pepper, capers, garlic, gherkins, mint, parsley (flat leaf) and sea salt.

These are the dryer ingredients of the salsa verde. Pretty unexciting at this stage.

However, adding the wet ingredients and mixing brings out the incredible range of flavours and textures. The wet end of things include wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and the best quality olive oil you can afford.

A gratuitous salsa photo to try to lift the post.

With the salsa verde, it’s time to put the baby grand sized fish on the pan. Pat it with salt and pepper on both sides then rub the fish with some oil. Get the pan very hot. Don’t oil the pan. Pop on the Tuna.

A beautiful piece of tuna on the pan. The shape and weight of a grand piano.

I took it off before the centre of pink disappeared. It would be criminal to over-cook it.

The finished dish. The salsa verde goes perfectly with the big tuna. I fried some baby potatoes also. You should not need my help with them.

It tasted better than I managed to make it look in this picture. The tuna cut into piano key size pieces.

That reminds me, my question. The difference between a fish and a piano?

You can’t tuna fish!

Sorry, to try to make up for that, here’s another nice picture of the salsa verde.

Not a bad shot of the salsa verde. I feel no passion for it because I simply followed the recipe.

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Latest comments
  • I will try this one! Tuna is my favorite fish!

  • It’s my lunch break, and I’m wishing this dish could be my lunch. Jamie Oliver can do no wrong, in my mind!

    • He is a genuinely inventive and thoughtful guy. I find him very human too in that he has his faults and is not afraid to let them show. I like that.

  • Great photos. I like Jamie too but you really did an expectional job cooking that tuna. Perfect.

    • You are too kind. I get very little satisfaction by slavishly following a recipe. However, that salsa was pretty excellent.

  • Prevarication? Procrastination? Other than sounding like an early U2 song, Conor, it is also pretty much my (alba?)core philosophy of blogging but sometimes all you need to do is have a little fishy on a little dishy and you made that look and sound mighty fine into the bargain. Have to confess, though, had some yellowfin straight from the west cork trawler last summer, no time for it to be frozen and de-frosted and haven’t had a tuna since, there is absolutely no comparison. I’m sure I’ll get around to it sooner rather than later but …
    And the nicest tuna I ever ate? Camping, about ten years ago, again in West Cork, on a little hidden beach. I had a small and rather useless knife, a bucket of olive oil, a bulb of garlic and a fistful of basil. Anxious to get on with sporting and drinking etc, I cut the fish and garlic into chunks about an inch square, ripped up the basil and dunked the whole lot into the olive oil. Hours later, the fire blazing and the thirst three quarters slaked, I was wondering exactly how I’d cook this mess. Someone had brought an old cake cooling stand as a class of grill so I eventually upended the entire contents of the pot onto the ‘grill’ placed over the fire. Instant inferno as the oil went up in flames, three or four feet high, I jumped back with singed eyebrows and hair. In less than thirty seconds, I had crisped, blackened little pieces of tuna yet perfectly pink and exquisitely flavoured on the inside. I’ve spent my time ever since trying to find a safer way to replicate the dish.
    Enjoyed your post enormously, procrastinate at your leisure!

    • Thanks Joe, kind words indeed. I think I would like to explore your tuna cooking approach. It sounds like a lot more fun than mine. A safer way might be to use a blowtorch? Either one of the ones used to do a creme brulée or the bad boy I have for burning weeds in the garden?
      Best,
      Conor

  • Absolutely gorgeous! I love your countertop too – nice color on the tuna and countertop!

    • Thanks. It cost an arm and a leg back in the Celtic Tiger days. It won’t be replaced any day soon. Lovely to work on too.

  • I suffer the same problem – its like every recipe needs a story. However the main issue I have is when is it all going to stop? When am I going to start with the rowing machine and posting interesting recipes for granola and ‘how to make your own yoghurt’? God help me.

  • Superb photographs, may I ask what camera you use and did you use any extra lighting.
    The sauce looks absolutely yummy and so much better than mine.

    • I used a Canon 5D Mk11 for this one with a 28 – 105mm lens. The lighting was two softboxes with 800 watt equivalent cool lights. I also use a Canon 400D. I just added a fixed F2 35mm to the lens selection. The results from that, on either camera, are really wonderful. I am blessed to have access to the equipment from our ad agency business. However, the Wife is not too impressed with the kitchen being turned into a photographic studio every weekend. Things have got worse since our eldest daughter has started blogging at http://www.decidedlydelicious.com (Shameless plug). The upside is all the very tasty stuff she is adding into our diet.

  • Love that chopper of yours Conor! The dish looks amazing! I love Jaime Oliver too! I think my most favorite segment on his show was when he went in search of mushrooms. There he was standing in the street when he started pounding on the pavement with his feet. He jumped to the side and the sidewalk opened up. There was a mushroom seller who had his business underground, and the place was loaded with mushrooms. Can’t remember the dish he made but I certainly won’t forget that mushroom cellar seller! I cook scallops the same way that you do the tuna in this recipe, watching the sides. I remove them from the heat before the color change from one side meets the other, cover them and let them sit for a minute or two. They come out perfect every time! This looks like a keeper recipe!

    • Thanks Barb. I love scallops too. They must be fresh and they must not be overcooked.

  • My first response to the title was “Taste,” but I am glad that I read through the post before commenting – LOL!

  • Oh my, that tuna looks amazing! Perfectly seared on the outside and still pink inside. I’m going to have to try both the recipe and the joke 😀

  • Now I have to go to dictionary.com to find out what “faffing” means. lol

  • Your tuna looks perfectly cooked. With the flavorful salsa verde, it must have been a lovely meal.

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