I fell in love with Swiss chard at first sight. I first spied this vegetable at the local farmers market while I lived in Illinois. And there is a specificity to my infatuation – they must be of the rainbow variety. Large shiny radiant green leaves pillared by a red stalk and multiple veins throughout. What’s not to love? Two years ago, I took my infatuation to the next level and started a garden flirtation with this nutrient-dense veggie. I dedicated a 4 by 1 ft section of our tomato garden to their cultivation. Unfortunately, I waited too long to harvest and by then they had an earthy flavor that was most disappointing. Still, I just loved the way they looked in the garden and so allowed them to grow to near Jurassic proportions. Last year, in my second attempt, our nutrient depleted soil resulted in a single plant which I was loathe to cut. Enter this year and Anders’ threat that if we are giving up much-prized tomato real estate for this vegetable, then we had better have something to taste for it. Thus warned, I embarked on a mission of soil amendment research and implementation that an agronomist would approve of.
After making a fantastic tuna sandwich, we made a few variations of tuna appetizers the next day. This is one of them, and it’s great. When working with tuna, be very careful not to overpower the subtle taste. We added a very mild Saint Faron cheese as a spread almost, and topped it with a small amount of balsamic vinegar reduction. Notice how the vinegar brings out the texture of the tuna in the pictures. This is a bite of food heaven.
Since his birthday lunch of seared tuna at Blue Water Seafood Market and Grill, Anders has been dreaming about making a tuna sandwich. But the price of fresh tuna and our relative inexperience with cooking it has served as a big deterrence. You don’t want to ruin a $14/lb tuna steak! Anyway, this weekend he could not be stopped. We finally succumbed and bought a ginormous ahi tuna steak at Costco. This was one fantastic looking steak – probably big enough for 4-5 tuna rolls. So the plan was to sear the tuna, and, borrowing inspiration from Blue Water Seafood, serve it on a soft bun, rather than the artesan-style breads and rolls we typically use.
With a game plan in mind, the search was on for an acceptable roll. Anders just happened to be shopping at Lucky Supermarket – one of the 6 supermarkets that we just had to visit this weekend to satisfy our finicky grocery needs – when he happened upon: Pandesal rolls. Slightly sweet Filipino bread rolls which are very soft. Getting home with the unexpected find, it was time for the searing. A quick Google search, and a plan were laid to do one steak with sesame seeds, and one with a spice rub. From this point on we basically improvised the recipes below based on the content of our pantry, and the rest was… well see for yourselves.
About two weeks ago I promised Anders that I would make him the perfect steak sandwich. His raised disbelieving eyebrows might have been because I am frankly not a fan of beef. I mean, I don’t get it – what is the fascination? Still, a promise is a promise so I determined that this would be the day.
I left work with the plan in mind: rush to Trader Joe’s to buy ciabatta bread, watercress and the requisite rib-eye steak and get home and get down to business. Alas, the steaks at Trader Joes were disappointingly thin – a setback that resulted in a trip to two more supermarkets before I found the perfect steak. Two hours later, I finally made it home, tired and with some of the wind gone from my sail. Still, the look on Anders’ face when he bit into this sandwich made the evenings’ frustrations well worth it.