Romantic Dinner – Tuna with Foie Gras

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 15,078
    Chef Patrick O’Connell of The Inn at Little Washington, demonstrates how to make a romantic three course dinner that you can replicate easily at home including a tuna with foie gras main course.

    Patrick O'Connell: Hello! I am Patrick O'Connell. We are at the Inn at Little Washington in Washington, Virginia, thought to be one of the world's most romantic restaurants. And we are going to make a romantic little dinner for two and the main course is a Tuna pretending to be a Filet Mignon. The ingredients we will need for today's dish is, of course, magnificent piece of tuna. Actually, cut from a loin and then stamped in a perfect round. And we are going to drop it in a little marinade made with olive oil. A little soy sauce, a few scallions and a little bit of sherry vinegar and let it rest for just a minute before we are going to grill it. We are going to put on top of it, a slice of seared foie gras, the fat duck lever from upstate New York and it is going to rest on a bed of charred onions. We are simply going to take a nice, thick onion and slice it, put a little olive oil on it and char it, so that is going to end up looking like this. Also, in the nest underneath the tuna, will be ribbons of zucchini and carrot which will be blanched and dressed. The dish will be garnished with some crispy fried onion rings and sauced with a--, one of our very favorite sauces, a red wine butter sauce made by reducing a good quality red wine and aged balsamic vinegar, until it is a haze and then sweet butter is whisked in. And that is all there is to it. A lot of the dish can be prepped in advance and then assemble at the last minute. But you have to cook that tuna at the very last moment. So, we will make a little marinade for the tuna, which is completely optional. We put some olive oil in a bowl with some chopped scallion. A little bit of Sherry vinegar and some soy sauce. Now we will just give that a little whisk and we will have that at the ready to dress our tuna with and let it pick up these wonderful flavors, just before we are going to serve it.

    One of the key ways to do this is with a cast iron skillet, that has grooves in it. So we get a look on the tuna as if it were grilled on a charcoal grill and we keep that skillet at very high heat. Almost smoking white hot and all we do when we are ready to put the tuna in is spray a little vegaline in it to keep the tuna from sticking. But before we cook the tuna, we will have all the components ready. We will make one of our very favorite red wine butter sauces, which is incredibly simple and fabulous and works just as well on beef as it does on this tuna dish and it's simply equal parts of red wine and either red wine vinegar or in this case, balsamic vinegar reduced until its kind of a syrupy haze and at that point, some cold sweet butter is whisked in just off heat. Now, what we have to remember about this sauce is that it can break if it gets too warm or if it get too cold. And I will just show you the consistency of the sauce when it comes out. It has a glorious sort of shine to it and a very deep deep high flavor. So, then we are going to build a little nest for the tuna to rest on before we cook it and we are going to char some onions and nothing can be simpler. We have again a very hot cast iron skillet. Then we put a little clarified butter or olive oil in and we just charring our onions until they are kind of blackened. And they get a beautiful caramelized sweetness. We can put a little salt and pepper on them before they go into this skillet for added flavor. We have cut a zucchini and a carrot into ribbons and these are in the raw state. Then, we are going to blanch them. Of course, the zucchini will cook much faster than the carrot. So, we will put the carrots in first and give them a minute or so until they are pliable and we can bend them and kind of emphasize that ribbon shape. So we take the ridge skillet and this is one of the last steps. We will give it a little spray again so that the nothing sticks. You can see how hot that is. And then we will lay our tuna. A little Filet Mignon of tuna right in the center. So, when we are marked on one side, see how beautiful that scale of marks of meat. We will just turn it so we get cross hatched and just before we want to serve this dish, be sure that our nest is nice and warm and in our case, we have this wonderful Salamander here. I can just reach in and get the little buzz of heat. But you could set these up probably 40 minutes before your guests are ready to be seated. Everything will hold its place and then you can just warm them a little bit in the oven before putting your tuna on. So, it's important that this tuna be nice and thick over an inch and a half thick. This is more like two inches and we get that beautiful, beautiful color on it. And then we will flip it to the other side. Isn't it amazing how much like a Filet Mignon it looks? So our vegetables are now perfectly cooked and we are going to bring those out and throw them in a little pan here and dress them. We are dressing them with a little brown butter and this is all we are going to do for those but as I said, you can do it just as we have done here in advance. Meanwhile, we have our liver and we are going to salt and pepper it. This can be obtained through several mail order places or some luxury food markets and you can purchase a whole duck liver and slice just what you need for this but this is a very generous wonderful slice of it. Depending on how rare you like it. We like it very rare. We want to sear and caramelize the exterior and have a sort of melting center.

    So, we will flip that in the pan. Nothing in the pan because the liver has so much of its natural fat and our tuna is just about the way we like it. So we are going to just take a little weariness out of the sides and place it here on a warm vegetables with the charred onions underneath. It is important that the liver be icy cold when it goes into the pan. It is a little like cooking butter or chocolate. It can melt very quickly onion. So, we have a gorgeous caramel color to the top of the liver and you want the lever warm through but rare in the center. And that is all there is to it. We are going to lay that liver right on top. Garnish with our crispy little onion rings which are simply raw onions, dusted with flower and dropped for a second in a crisp hot oil and then we are going to take our beurre rouge or red wine butter sauce and we are going to make three pools of sauce on the tuna. And the sauce is so rich that's all you need and here is the completed dish. Tuna pretending to be a Filet Mignon with a rich burgundy butter sauce and ribbons of zucchini and carrot laid on top of charred onions. A little slapped Foie Gras on the top.