I suppose it’s apropos to start off my first ‘entirely for this blog’ post with a Frugal Gourmet recipe, since watching Jeff Smith’s TV show as a kid had a lot to do with my interest in cooking. This was back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, before the Food Network transformed cooking into a “celebrity” occupation, and Jeff was much more low-key than a lot of the personalities we’re used to in the mighty 21st Century. His best trait (at least from the point of view of an insecure teenager) was that he had a way of making you feel confident about trying something new…if your chicken got a little scorched or your soup was overseasoned, you knew he wouldn’t laugh at you. I ended up with a lot of Frugal Gourmet cookbooks, largely because people trying to avoid giving me a dragon or spaceship related gift in high school knew that I enjoyed his show.

Today was a perfect day for a light fish dish…incredible humidity, and my girlfriend, who loves Ahi, in town looking for a new apartment.

Sicilian Tuna (from The Frugal Gourmet Whole Family Cookbook)

  • 4 60z fresh tuna steaks
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 and 1/2 tbs white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbs chopped parsley
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Coat tuna steaks in flour and fry in olive oil, 1-2 minutes on each side (It’ll be pink in the middle. That’s how you want it). Remove tuna to a warm plate and add onions, pepper, chicken stock, and pepper. Let everything cook down till the stock is reduced a bit and the onions are tender. Salt to taste, and pour over fish.

This goes very well with pasta and a green salad. I went with Aglio Olio, which is less an actual recipe (despite what Italian cookbooks will tell you) and more a useful trick. I’ve seen a lot of different ways to jazz it up, but this is the simple version I got from my mom. It’s incredibly useful because it’s easy to keep garlic and pasta on hand, and it requires almost no skill to prepare :

Pasta Aglio Olio

  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil (splurge for something decent…this stuff tastes awful with cheap olive oil)
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (or about one large pinch)
  • 1 lb cooked pasta (I prefer linguine for this)

Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan and add the garlic…you should hear it beginning to cook. Wait about a minute and add the parsley. Let cook another 1-2 minutes -you should be able to smell the garlic, but it shouldn’t turn brown. Remove from heat, stir, and toss with pasta. Serve with grated parmesan or romano cheese.

Sicilian Tuna and Linguine Aglio Olio