MOROCCAN HOUT BIL FELFLA (pan-seared tuna steaks with red bell pepper sauce, for four)
For the sauce:
4 fleshy red bell peppers
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
3 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
For the fish:
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 sushi-grade ahi tuna steaks, 1-½ to 2 inches thick
1 teaspoon sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Prepare the sauce first. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise, place them cut side down on a foil lined baking sheet, and roast them with the garlic in a 475* oven for about 30 minutes (take out the garlic much sooner – after 15 to 20 minutes — when it feels soft), or until the peppers are soft and their skins are blistered and blackened.
- To loosen their skins further, put the peppers in a strong plastic bag, twist it shut, and leave for 10 to 15 minutes or put them in a pan or storage container with a tight-fitting lid for the same length of time. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, peel them and remove and discard the stems and seeds. Peel the roasted garlic cloves.
- Blend the roasted peppers and garlic in a food processor with the rest of the sauce ingredients.
- Brush the grill pan with oil and heat it until it is very hot. Brush both sides of the tuna steaks with oil and sprinkle them with a little sugar (the sugar caramelizes quickly and will create grill marks despite the short cooking time). Sprinkle the steaks with salt and pepper. Grill in hot pan, turning once, until the surface is seared but the interior is still uncooked, no more than 1 minute per side for rare.
- Serve the tuna steaks on top of the sauce, sprinkled with the chopped parsley
adapted from Claudia Roden, Arabesque