By Yanni- www.fishermansbellly.com
How do you know when it’s time for a Mediterranean fish salad? When the sea Gods hand you yellowfin tuna belly, that’s when. Time to run home and fire up the grill. But don’t forget, on your way home stop off at the farmer’s market to get some top quality tomatoes, cucumbers and red onions. Now all you need is some french bread, or sourdough, and some extra virgin olive oil.
Welcome to the world of the Mediterranean fish salad. There are many variations, but here’s what they have in common. Cold flavorful fish, fresh seasonal vegetables and good quality extra virgin olive oil.
With our coastal tuna season starting early again, it shouldn’t take long before the sea Gods hand you some yellowfin tuna belly.
Grilled Yellowfin And Panzanella Salad (serves 4)
1 pound yellowfin belly, skin on and fillet cross cut
4-5 high quality fresh tomatoes
1 cup of cut cucumbers
1 cup of julienne red onions
1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ bundle of fresh basil
½ lemon or lime
2 slices of thick french bread toasted
Coarse black pepper
Pinch of dried oregano
Grilling the Yellowfin Belly
1. Start by preheating your outdoor grill. Temperatures of 500F and above are ideal.
2. Prep your tuna belly by scaling its skin, and cutting 2 inch squares on the fillet side without cutting through the tuna skin. With a basting brush, lather the tuna skin with only olive oil, no salt. Now, lather the fillet side with olive oil, salt, pepper and squeeze of lemon or lime juice. Finally grill the skin side down first for 3-4 minutes and then flip. Cook the other side for 2 minutes then remove from the grill. Drizzle the fillet side with more olive oil, then refrigerate for at least ½ hour.
Start Making The Mediterranean Fish Salad
1. Take the toasted bread slices and cut them into 2 inch squares. Now, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil into a hot frying pan. Add a healthy pinch of salt and pepper, followed by a pinch of oregano. As soon as the oregano starts to smoke, add the bread squares and cook until all sides are golden brown. Set aside until needed.
2. Start to prepare the salad by first cutting the tomatoes into wedges, placing them into a salad bowl, and then liberally salting them. This will make the tomatoes give up their juices. Add the cucumbers and onions, and let stand for 10-15 minutes.
3. Add a half cup of olive oil into a large measuring cup, then add ¼ cup of red wine vinegar. Mix vigorously and set aside.
4. Remove the tuna belly from the refrigerator and cut into squares following the cuts created before grilling.
5. Start assembling the salad by adding the bread into the tomato, cucumber, and red onion bowl. Now, pour in the olive oil and red wine vinegar mixture into the salad bowl, then mix.
6. Finally add the yellowfin belly chunks on top and then serve. Enjoy!