"A cooking Guinea pig" eats Seared Tuna and spiced lentil salsa

How often does a dish come along that has all the wow factor needed to send it soaring across the globe? This simple seared tuna dish stems from that great London Institution,The Ivy, but is now flagged up by food bloggers and on some of the best food websites in the world, such as Epicurious.When I was asked in 1997 by Richard Erlich,then food and drinks columnist for the Independent on Sunday, to be a"cooking Guinea pig" and put the recently published book, "THE IVY THE RESTAURANT AND ITS RECIPES", to the test,this recipe somehow missed my attention.So how could something so delicious have passed me by? 21 years later it has returned to haunt me, and though long since gone from the Ivy menu I am now adding it as a prominent starter and tasting menu item to the casa rosada portfolio.
Lentils and tuna are a wonderful combination.Lean tuna replaces the fattier beef loin steak,and a surprise side of lentils, adds an earthy boost of fibre.
The finest blue fin tuna loin must be used for this dish.The tuna should be cut into approximately 10cm long,4cm x 4cm square,blocks.The fish will be sliced after cooking.If you are serving this as a starter allow about 100g per person or 170g as a main course.The lentil salsa is better for being  made the day before.
Seared Tuna loin and spiced lentil salsa
serves 4

4 x 170g Blue fin tuna steaks

100g Puy lentils, soaked for an hour in cold water and washed
20g fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 medium-sized mild chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
½tsp ground cumin
⅓tsp cumin seeds
2tbsp water
½tbsp balsamic vinegar
½tbsp sweet soy sauce or light soy
1tbsp tomato ketchup
½tbsp sweet chilli sauce
2tbsp olive oil
1tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
Salt and pepper
Cook the lentils in salted water for 15-20 minutes or until they are tender. Drain and cool them. Place the chilli and ginger in a pan with the onion, garlic, ground cumin and seeds, water and balsamic vinegar and simmer with a lid on for a few minutes, stirring well so that all the flavours infuse. Remove the mixture from the heat and pour into a bowl with the drained lentils. Add the soy sauce, ketchup and chilli sauce, stir well and gradually add the olive oil and chopped coriander. Season with salt and pepper, cover and leave in the refrigerator overnight (if time allows). Season the pieces of tuna and cook them on a griddle pan or heavy-bottomed frying pan for 2 minutes on each side. The ideal way to eat tuna is rare, otherwise it becomes dry. Once cooked, serve the tuna on warmed plates with a couple of spoonfuls of lentils and if you are inclined some salad leaves, such as rocket, lightly dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.


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