We have this wonderful talent of collecting cookbooks, then putting them on the shelf and not cracking them open for years. Last weekend as we searched for a little kitchen inspiration, we came across a Mediterranean cookbook that had been gifted to us back in 2005. While there are beautiful photos with each recipe in the book, nothing seemed to strike our fancy enough then to create any of the dishes it held. I guess a lot changes in eight years though, because our mouths were watering more with each recipe we evaluated. We settled on a tuna stew, and last night made it happen.
Into the pot went cubes of fresh tuna that were seared, then removed. Using the olive oil from the sear, we cooked onions and garlic for a few minutes to soften them and begin caramelization. Next, in went white wine, a pound of diced tomatoes, vegetable stock, salt, pepper, bay leaves, herbs de Provence, and a few diced Kalamata olives to add some briny sea flavor. Everything simmered together for twenty minutes, then the tuna went back in for the last five minutes of cooking. We let the stew stand for a bit to cool, then added roasted slices of cauliflower to the mixture to increase our vegetable intake, and add texture.
Start to finish this stew took forty-five minutes, but tasted like it had been simmering for hours. No wonder residents of Mediterranean climates look so great; they have endless access to amazing seafood, and with their secrets to preparing delicious meals quickly, they can spend all that extra time relaxing on their sun kissed beaches.