Take a classic Italian family, made of parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters … or take for example my family: it is almost impossible to find yourself sitting alone at the table for lunch or dinner. We have dinner sitting all together commenting on the day, lunch is meant to be in a messy kitchen with my grandma or mum, or sometimes with Claudia when she’s not at university. Holidays are celebrated mainly at the table, sitting one next to the other, packed like sardines.
Then everything changed, the pace of work and my schedule, and I began to appreciate those lunches limited to a plate, a fork, a knife and a glass of water, those lunches where you take all the time you need to cook for a very important person, yourself.
The usual and so reassuring talks, pass me the cheese, may I have the last potato or mum is there still yoghurt in the fridge, are the soundtrack of the most appreciated moments of family life, but I must admit that even a meal by yourself has its charm, being it out in the sun stunned by the silence of your thoughts or curled on the couch watching the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
This is one of my private lunches, where I used a drop of balsamic vinegar, a slice of fresh tuna, the just-picked herbs from the garden and my most precious cast iron pot to make a kind of pilaf rice on the stove instead of in the oven. And, believe me, it turned out stunning.
As you can see, even a lunch alone has its good points: a bit of experimentation, the luxury of balsamic vinegar, the lightness of the rice, the salty tang of the tuna, the crunchy flakes of Maldon salt and my favourite herb, the sorrel.
- 80 g Carnaroli rice
- 200 ml of boiling salted water
- 1 shallot, finely sliced
- extra virgin olive oil
- 2 small Tuscan zucchini, diced
- 1 slice of fresh tuna (approx. 100 g)
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- fresh herbs (mint, chives, sorrel)
- Measure the volume of rice in a cup, you will need it as reference for the required amount of boiling water, as you should use twice the volume of rice.
- Sweat the shallots in a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil without browning, then add the rice.
- Stir the rice with a wooden spoon until it becomes transparent, then add the boiling water and the zucchini.
- Cover the rice with the lid so keep the steam inside the pot.
- Let the rice cook covered for about 12 minutes on low flame, until the water is fully absorbed.
- Turn off the heat and let the rice stand in the pot still covered.
- After about 10 minutes add a dash of extra virgin olive oil and stir to separate the grains.
- Grill the tuna for a few seconds on each side on a scorching cast iron skillet, the slice it and season it with extra virgin olive oil, salt, a drop of balsamic vinegar and chopped fresh herbs.
- Serve the tuna with the pilaf rice and enjoy it!
I love fresh tuna, do you? These are other recipes to enjoy this tasteful fish: