Innovative restaurant features tuna, kumquats

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 22, 2014

An innovative restaurant makes for some good eatin'.

An innovative restaurant makes for some good eatin’.

When ‘Food and Wine’ did a survey of where people would go to have a great vacation and good food most people wanted to go to New Orleans. I totally agree. Even though I have been lucky to eat in a lot of interesting cities, I always come back to New Orleans for the best food.

Donald Link is just a great chef and so innovative. His restaurant Cochon is just one of my favorites. He has a new cookbook called Down South, which I do not have but I can put it on my wish list. In ‘Food and Wine’ magazine a review of his cookbook gave us three lessons from Donald Link.

Lesson one: He folds mascarpone with sour cream for his onion dip, this deepens the flavor, and then adds a splash of Cognac or brandy.

Lesson two: Don’t throw fish fins in the garbage. He fried them until crispy, and called them “chips”. (I’m not so sure about this one!)

Lesson three: Instead of barbecues sauce, Link serves grilled chicken breasts with a vinaigrette made from black and green olives, olive oil, sherry vinegar and lemon juice.

‘Food and Wine’ also had a recipe from Mr. Link using kumquats and mint. Kumquats are in season and we have a lot of them so this is a good use of them. The cold has reduced my mint to zero but I have been able to bring the kumquat tree in during the bad freezes.

Kumquats are hardier than some other citrus. This recipe could not be healthier and more beautiful in presentation.

Taken from February 2014, issue of ‘Food and Wine’ magazine.

Poached Tuna with Kumquats and Jalapeño

Makes 2 servings

Two 6-ounce tuna steaks, cut 1 ¼   inches thick

Kosher salt

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 small jalapeño–stemmed, seeded and minced

4 kumquats, thinly sliced

¼ cup mint leaves, torn

Season the tuna steaks with salt. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter in the olive oil and lime juice. Stir in the minced jalapeño and sliced kumquats. Add the tuna steaks and cook them over moderate heat, turning once, until they’re rare, about 4 minutes.

Transfer the tuna steaks to a carving board and slice them 1/3 inch thick, then arrange them on plates. Stir the torn mint into the sauce, spoon over the tuna and serve.

Kumquats can be eaten raw for a great little snack. You eat the whole thing—you can even eat the seeds. They can be used in duck recipes and also used for a great boost for salsa. Try this recipe to add to meat for dinner.

Kumquat Salsa

Makes about 2 ½ cups

2 cups chopped cleaned and thinly sliced kumquats

½ cup chopped red onion

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Dash of cayenne pepper

Pinch of kosher salt

Combine all ingredients. Add more or less red pepper and cayenne to desired heat. Let sit for 1 hour for the flavors to more fully blend.

Great served with steak or seafood such as halibut, black sea bass, or salmon.