Thursday, 15 February 2018

Atún encebollado

Atun encebellado al Jerez is a very typical Southern Andalucian dish, originating from the Costa de la Luz,and more particularly from Cadiz.It is emulated in many different styles all across Spain and is one of the country´s most popular dishes.In traditional Spanish family recipe books there are a lot of traditional dishes such as paella, gazpacho, tortilla or tuna with onions. They are those meals that, throughout our lives, remind us irrevocably of the our mother and grandmother´s kitchens. If you are Spanish and reading this, it is most likely that you have your own recipe for tuna with onions.This is one of those recipes that once you have cooked and eaten it you will never forget it.I haven´t cooked it for a while and found a beautiful piece of bluefin tuna in the freezer and thought it was time to cook it again.
The Spanish recipe is different to the Algarvian version, where more often than not the tuna steak is kept whole as opposed to being cooked in bite sized pieces.I was lucky enough some years ago to have this interpretation of the recipe  passed to me by our dear friend, the lovely Lola from Sevilla.In turn it had been handed down through generations of her family.She actually showed us how to cook it and we all sat round the kitchen table to eat it together.
For this recipe to be a success it is essential to poach the onion over a very slow heat, almost in the style of caramelized onions, although without sugar. It takes a minimum of 30 minutes. It may seem a bit tedious, but believe me it's worth it. The onion poached in this way is spectacular. Also, although the cooking time is long, it does not require excessive attention, since as the flame is so low it does not burn, and you must stir it and turn it it from time to time.
Atun encebellado al Jerez
Literally tuna smothered in onions and cooked in Manzanilla sherry

For 4 people
1 Tuna loin (kilo)
4 large Spanish onions or 6 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 glass of  sherry or manzanilla wine (250g)
Flour
Salt and pepper
Butter ( 2-3 tablespoons)
Olive oil ( to sear the tuna)
1 chicken stock cube (optional)

Cut the tuna into medium sized pieces,sprinkle them with salt and pepper.Coat the tuna pieces with flour and fry them briefly in olive oil (to sear them).Set the tuna aside to drain on kitchen paper and put
put them in a large ovenproof clay dish. In another pan, heat up the butter with a littlle olive oil and add the onions.Sautée the onion over a very low heat until it is golden brown and tender. add ateaspoon of flour to thicken the sauce.Keep frying very lightly and add the glass of sherry.Flambée it or cook it over alow heat for about ten minutes in order to burn off the alcohol.Add to the bowl with the tuna and cook it over a low heat for 5or 10 minutes.At this stage you can add the stock if you want.
Serve with parsley and butter coated new potatoes or mash. Put the clay pot in the middle of the kitchen table, with the potatoes, a basket of bread and let everybody serve themselves.

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