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Pancetta-Wrapped Tuna with Potato-Ramp Purée

Chef Daniel BouludThis recipe has been reproduced with the kind permission of Chef Daniel Boulud. Born in France, he was raised on his family's farm near Lyon, where he grew up surrounded by the rhythms of the seasons, the wonders of produce fresh from the fields, and of course, his grandmother's inspiring home cooking . . . if you want to know more have a look at his biography page <click here>

To visit the web site of Daniel Boulud <click here>

This particular recipes comes from DB Bistro Moderne and Chef Daniel Boulud: Cooking in New York City

This particular recipes comes from the Café Boulud Cookbook

Daniel Boulud says: "If you were ever the least bit skeptical about just how much like meat tuna is, this dish, created to showcase the fish's meatiness, should erase all doubts: At every step, I've treated the tuna just as I would a beef roast. The tuna is cut as a roast would be cut, wrapped in pancetta, tied like a roast and, indeed, seared, roasted, and served with go-with-a-roast vegetables - sautéed chanterelles and mashed potatoes sparked with a purée of spring ramps. The cut of the tuna is unusual - it's a loin of tuna - and, in all likelihood, you'll have to have a chat with your fishmonger about it. Tell him you'd like a piece from the center of the fish cut into a rectangular block about 6-inches long, 1 1/2-inches high and 1 1/2-inches wide.

If you can't find ramps - they're wild spring onions that look like scallions or baby leeks but have a strong, sharp onion taste - you can substitute an equal amount of scallion greens; just include a clove of garlic to give the scallions an edge".


The Tuna:
8 to 10 ounces slab pancetta, thinly sliced, or an equal amount of sliced bacon
1 1/4 pounds tuna loin, cut like a roast, approximately 6-inches long, 1 1/2-inches high, and 1 1/2-inches wide
Salt and freshly ground pepper

The potatoes and ramps:
1 3/4 pounds potatoes, preferably fingerlings, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
3/4 cup whole milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
3 ounces ramps, trimmed, and washed (or 3 ounces scallion greens and 1 clove garlic, peeled, split, germ removed, and finely chopped)
1 bunch Italian parsley, leaves only
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

To Finish:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 ounces chanterelles, trimmed and cleaned (halved or quartered if large)
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots, rinsed and dried
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1/4 cup sherry vinegar


The Tuna:

  • Spread a piece of plastic wrap on the counter and lay out the slices of pancetta (or bacon) vertically, so that each slice overlaps its neighboring slice just a bit. Season the tuna very lightly with salt and pepper (remember, the pancetta or bacon is already salty) and place it crosswise in the middle of the pancetta. With the plastic to help you, start to roll the pancetta around the tuna, stopping to straighten the rows of pancetta and to assure yourself that you're getting an even wrap. Secure the pancetta by tying the roast at 1-inch intervals with kitchen twine, just as you would a meat roast. Refrigerate the tuna while you prepare the potatoes.

The potatoes and ramps:

  • Put the potatoes in a large casserole or stockpot of salted cold water, bring to the boil, and cook until the potatoes are tender enough to be pierced with the point of a knife, about 15 minutes.
  • While the potatoes are cooking, bring the milk and butter to the boil in a small saucepan. When the mixture reaches the boil and the butter melts, turn off the heat; keep this warm until you're ready to purée the potatoes.
  • When the potatoes are cooked through, drain them, then return them to the pot. Set the pot over medium heat and, shaking the pot to keep the potatoes from sticking, cook just until the potatoes are dry, a matter of a minute or two. Pull the pan from the heat and spoon the potatoes into a food mill fitted with the fine blade of a potato ricer. Push the potatoes through the food mill or ricer into a large bowl. In a slow steady stream, add the hot milk and butter, stirring the liquid into the potatoes with a wooden spoon. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the potatoes and set the bowl aside in a warm place or keep the potatoes warm in a covered heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.
  • Bring a small pot of water to the boil. Toss the ramps or scallion greens into the pot and boil 3 to 4 minutes, until tender. Scoop the ramps or scallions out of the pot with a slotted spoon (keep the boiling water over heat) and run them under cold water to cool; dry them well. Toss the parsley into the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes before running it under cold water. When the parsley is cool, dry it as well.
  • Warm 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium sauté pan or skillet over medium heat. If you're using it, add the garlic and sauté until it is tender but not colored, about 2 minutes. Toss in the ramps or scallions and cook, stirring, another 3 minutes. Scrape the ingredients into the container of a small processor or a blender. Add the drained and dried parsley and the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil and whir, scraping down the sides of the container as needed, until you have a smooth purée. Stir the purée into the potatoes, season with salt and pepper, cover again, and keep warm while you cook the tuna.

To Finish:

  • Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Warm 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large ovenproof sauté pan or skillet over medium heat and, when it's hot, slip the tuna into the pan. Sear the tuna about 2 minutes on each of its four sides, then slide the pan into the oven for 5 minutes. (After 5 minutes in the oven, the tuna will be rare - cooked on the outside and warm but not colored anywhere else. If this is too rare for you, increase the tuna's time in the oven by 1 to 2 minutes and you'll have medium tuna.) Lift the tuna out of the pan and onto a warm serving platter (don't discard the cooking fat).
  • Pour off half the cooking fat that's in the pan, return the pan to the stovetop, turn the heat to medium-low and toss in the chanterelles. Cover the pan and cook the mushrooms until they're almost tender but not colored, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the shallots, season with salt and pepper, and cook another minute or so to soften the shallots. Pour in the vinegar and allow it to reduce by three quarters. Add the white wine, bring it to a boil and allow it cook away before adding the chicken stock. Cook until the stock is reduced by half, then pull the pan from the heat and swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, a small piece at a time. (The idea is to melt the butter slowly so that it forms an emulsion.) Sprinkle in the chives.

To Serve:

  • Cut the tuna into 12 slices (this is done most easily with an electric knife or a very sharp, long, thin-bladed knife). On each of six warm dinner plates, center a scoop of potatoes, lean two slices of tuna against the potatoes and surround with chanterelles and sauce.

Serves 6

Bon appetit . . . . .

Daniel Boulud
To visit his web site <click here>