Seared Moroccan Yellowfin Tuna, Galeux d'Eysines Pumpkin, Pickled Vegetables, Grenada Chili Yogurt

Chef Damian Sansonetti, Dine Indie, Fall 2009

Serves 6

Galeux d'Eysines* Pumpkin Puree

1/2 of an (10 pound) Galeux d'Eysines pumpkin, cut into large wedges (reserve remaining half for pickles and raw garnish)
Salt and ground white pepper
2 Tbs. butter
2 sprigs thyme
4 black peppercorns, crushed
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed.
1/4 cup milk
Salt and ground white pepper

Preheat oven to 375°F. Sprinkle the pumpkin with salt and pepper. Wrap each slice in aluminum foil, transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, or until tender. Meanwhile, brown the butter in a small saucepot over medium heat. Add the milk, thyme, peppercorns and crushed garlic; reserve warm. When cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh of the squash into the bowl of a blender. Remove the thyme, peppercorn and garlic from the butter mixture and add to the blender. Puree until smooth, and then pass through a fine meshed sieve. Season to taste and reserve chilled. Re-heat when ready to serve.

Pickled Pumpkin, Celery Root and Mustard Seeds

1 quart rice wine vinegar
3 ounces fine sea salt
3.5 ounces sugar
2 pieces whole star anise
1 grenada seasoning pepper**, sliced in half
1 teaspoon crushed coriander
1 small bay leaf
2 whole cloves
1 stick cinnamon
1/2 cup celery root, cut into 1" matchsticks
1 cup Galeux d'Eysines pumpkin (reserved from puree), sliced thin and cut into rounds with a 1-cm diameter ring cutter
1 tablespoon mustard seeds

In a medium saucepot, combine the vinegar, salt, sugar, star anise, grenada pepper**, coriander, bay leaf, clove and cinnamon. Simmer for 10 minutes. Place the celery root and squash into separate heat proof containers. Pour the hot pickle brine through a strainer onto the vegetables just to cover (you should only use about half of the brine). Cover the vegetables and chill for at least 24 hours. Combine the remaining pickle brine with the mustard seeds and return to a simmer for 45 minutes, until the seeds are hydrated and cooked through, but still pop between your teeth. Strain and reserve covered, chilled.

Tuna

2 pounds fresh Yellowfin tuna, sliced into 2 1/2-inch wide rectangular logs
2 Tbs. Ras al Hanout spice
2 Tbs. mixed cracked pepper (equal parts black, white, pink and green peppercorn)
Fine Sea Salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Evenly sprinkle the tuna with the Ras al Hanout, pepper mix, and sea salt. Pat the outside of the fish to ensure the spices stick. Heat the olive oil in a medium sauté pan over high heat. Add the tuna and sear on all sides, about 2 minutes each (the tuna should still be raw in the center). Cut into 1/2 inch slices.

Yogurt and Grenada Pepper** Sauce

1 (16 ounce) pack Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt, plain
1 grenada pepper*, stem removed and sliced in half
Fleur de sel, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth, about 1 minute. Reserve, chilled.

Garnish

1/2 cup raw Galeux d'Eysines pumpkin sliced into 1" matchsticks, (reserved from puree)
1 bunch baby red mustard greens, washed and trimmed
Olive oil, as needed

To Serve

Strain the pickled squash and celery root. On the bottom of 6 appetizer plates, line a spoonful of squash puree in the middle and arrange the seared tuna slices on top. Place dots of the yogurt sauce around the perimeter in a decorative fashion. In a small bowl toss some squash and celery root pickles with pickled mustard seeds, red mustard greens and olive oil to taste. Arrange a handful of salad on top of and around the Tuna. Serve immediately.

* 'Brodé Galeux d'Eysines' (Cucurbita maxima) pumpkin - meaning "Embroidered with warts from Eysines" (a small city in the southwest of France) - is a visual masterpiece. It has pale salmon-orange skin covered with amazing veins of protruding warts and yields plenty of smooth, rich pumpkin for pie.

** 'Grenada Seasoing Pepper' - Yellow or green pepper, in the shape of a Habanero but very mild with a sweet flavor and noticeable aroma.


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