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What does tuna capaccio have to do with sports? We have what we call sports TV dinners. When there is a sports event such as the upcoming US Open Tennis Tournament, or a baseball, football world series, or the Olympics, these are TV dinner nights. No, not frozen TV dinners, but moving dinner from the dinning room table to the cocktail table. We don’t often eat in front of the TV, but a sports event is a good excuse. Not that we make it less formal, as we still have a nice table setting, candles and of course wine.
On these evenings when we want something easy but still special. We might grill pizza in our fireplace, make a fondue or a racellette with boiled potatoes and conichones. Sometimes we get a little fancier and have caviar with chopped egg yolk, chopped egg white and chopped onions, or smoked salmon with toast. But when we can get fresh sushi style tuna, it is tuna carpaccio every time.
We start by buying excellent quality fresh tuna; it is warped in plastic wrap and put into the freezer for about 15 minutes. During this time I toast pignoli nuts and let them to cool. Chop fresh basil and slice sun dried tomatoes. When I have black olives from Puglia I’ll slice slivers and put this aside.
When the tuna is just beginning to freeze, remove it from the freezer and slice it very thinly. Layer the slices by overlapping them covering the dish completely.
The next step is sprinkling the nuts, basil, sun dried tomatoes and olives if you have them over the top. For this dish I like the flavor of light extra virgin olive oil from Puglia. This oil is perfect for fish, as it doesn’t have the strong pungent Tuscan oil flavor that is great for salads but not for fish. Next I sprinkle a few large grains of Mediterranean Sea Salt over the top, use the salt very sparingly. The salt is crunchy and adds a nice salty flavor when you bite a grain of salt now and then.
A nice light good quality Prosecco pares very well with this dish.
For dessert I like to have a cool lemony sorbeto drink. In summer I mix some lemon sorbet with half & half cream and lemoncello and beat it in the blender. If it is winter it will be my homemade Limoncello. Limoncello helps to naturalize the salt and fish taste. It is perfect after a fish dinner.
And then with some nice placemats and a candle burning we enjoy our favorite TV dinner and the game.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 2 people as a main course
1 lb Sashimi quality tuna
8 Sun dried tomatoes
1/2 cup pine nuts (pignoli)
Extra Virgin Olive oil (very light)
Sea salt (medium or large grain)
Put the tuna in the freezer for about 15 minutes. You don’t want to freeze it, but it should be at the point where it is just beginning to freeze. This makes it easier to cut paper-thin slices. Lay the tuna slices on a plate slightly overlapping them. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
Toast the pignoli nuts in a non-stick sauce pan. This can be done without any butter or oil. Remove them from the heat as soon as they start to brown; let the heat from the pan continue to brown them. They brown very fast and can easily burn. Put them aside to cool.
Julienne the sun dried tomatoes and olives if you have them and set them aside.
Just before serving, sprinkle the tuna with the sea salt. It gives a very nice taste to the tuna and also adds a little crunch. Roughly chop several pieces of fresh basil and set them aside.
Just before serving, sprinkle the toasted pine nuts, basil and sun dried tomatoes over the tuna. Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice over the top of the capaccio and serve cold.
A fresh dessert drink – Sorbetto Al Limone
Limoncello: Sorrento’s Liquid Gold