Seared Tuna Niçoise with Tapenade

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Seared Tuna Niçoise with Tapenade
paired with Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon
Serves 4

The earthy and olive tapenade nuances of the classic Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon is an ideal match for this Niçoise salad.

Tapenade
1/2 cup packed pitted kalamata olives, chopped
1/2 cup packed pitted oil-cured olives, chopped
1/4 cup drained capers, chopped
4 anchovy fillets, drained and minced
1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
Grated zest of 1 orange
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon brandy
1/3 to 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Vinaigrette
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar or lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Salad
4 medium beets, preferably gold or Chioggia
1/2 pound haricots verts, tips and strings removed
1/2 pound small Yukon gold or red potatoes
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound good-quality tuna
1 to 2 tablespoon olive oil
4 to 6 handfuls salad greens
1 cup basil leaves, no stems
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
4 hard-cooked eggs, quartered

 

Tapenade
In a bowl, mix the olives, capers, anchovies, garlic, orange zest, thyme, brandy, and 1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil as desired for consistency. Set aside. (The tapenade may be made up to 1 week ahead and refrigerated; bring to room temperature before use.)

Vinaigrette
In a small bowl, macerate the garlic in the vinegar for 10 minutes. Whisk in the mustard, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the seasonings. Set aside.

Salad
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the beets in a small roasting pan and cover with foil. Roast the beets until they are easily pierced with a knife, 30 to 50 minutes depending on the size of the beets. When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel, cut into quarters, and refrigerate until needed. (The beets may be cooked up to 4 days in advance, but don’t quarter them until you’re ready to assemble and dress the salad.)

Bring a medium pot of salted water to boil, and add the haricots verts. Cook until crisp-tender, drain, and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Let the haricots verts drain on a clean kitchen towel. Refrigerate until needed.

Place the potatoes in a separate saucepan, cover with cold water, and add a large pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are tender but still firm. Drain the potatoes. When they are cool enough to handle, cut in half. Place in a bowl, dress with a little of the vinaigrette, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside to finish cooling.

About 20 minutes before serving, remove the tuna from the refrigerator, brush with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

To grill the tuna, heat a gas or charcoal grill to very hot or set a stove-top grill pan over high heat. The goal is to sear the exterior as quickly as possible without cooking the center. Grill the tuna on each side for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Remove from heat, drizzle with a little olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let rest while you assemble the salad.

In a bowl, lightly dress the salad greens and basil with some of the vinaigrette. Place in the center of a platter. In the same bowl, dress the beets with a little vinaigrette. Mound on the platter. Dress the haricots verts and set alongside the beets. Toss the potatoes and the sliced onions with a little more vinaigrette, if necessary. Place on the platter. Cut the tuna into thin slices and arrange on the greens. Garnish with the eggs and a drizzle of tapenade. Place a bowl of the remaining tapenade on the table.