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Recipes from The Great British Pepper Cookbook by Liz O'Keefe

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Rare tuna 'au poivre' and piperade tapas
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Serves 4
Ready in 25 minutes
2 red bell peppers and 1 green
2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
2 banana shallots, finely slice lengthways
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of piment d’espelette or paprika
Pinch of sugar
10ml white wine vinegar (see tips)
300ml passata
2 tbsp black and white peppercorns, roughly cracked
500g tuna steak (see tips)
2 tsp groundnut oil
2 tbsp brandy or cognac
60ml chicken stock
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp butter
Sea salt and black pepper
Steamed and then griddled tenderstem or purple spouting broccoli and bread, to serve
1 Preheat a griddle pan and blister the skins of the peppers, then place in a bowl and cover with cling film. Stand for 5 mins, then deseed, remove the skins and slice very thinly.
2 To make the piperade, sweat the garlic and shallots in the olive oil in a saucepan, until very soft, then add the piment d’espillete or paprika. Add the sugar, vinegar and passata and reduce until fairly dry and concentrated. This will take around 5-10 minutes. Add the sliced peppers from step 1 and season.
3 Meanwhile, in a sieve, shake all the dust from the cracked pepper, then push the cracked pepper against one side of tuna and season with salt. Always use the salt after the pepper, otherwise the salt draws the moisture out of the pepper and all the pepper falls off during cooking. Heat a heavy bottomed frying pan until quite hot, then add the groundnut oil. Place the tuna in pan, pepper side down, and fry for 1 minute, then briefly seal the other sides for no more than 10 seconds each side.
4 Rest the tuna for 2 minutes, keeping the pan on the heat, but turning it to low. Flambé with the brandy or cognac and add the chicken stock, reducing for 2 minutes. Season with salt and stir in the lemon juice and butter. Slice the tuna, then divide the broccoli, piperade and the sliced tuna between the four plates and dress with the brandy sauce. Serve with bread and Goat’s cheese and chicory salad (page 92).
Pick a piece of firm, bright tuna, making sure it isn’t grey or brown. If possible, ask for sashimi grade, as it will basically be eaten raw.
Adding sugar and vinegar is called a gastric and is used to bring out the sweetness of tomato and pepper-based sauces and soups. If a sauce is lacking in punch, a reduction of vinegar and sugar can often put it right, but just be careful not to make your dish into a sweet and sour.
Recipe by Blanchette’s head chef, Tam Storrar. Courtesy of The Great British Pepper Cookbook by Liz O’Keefe. Published by Redshank Books on behalf of the Pepper Technology Group. £9.99
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