Picadillo de Atún

Pan-Fried Tuna with Smoky Paprika

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THE MATANZA IS THE NAME SPANIARDS GIVE TO THE DAY THEY KILL THE FAMILY PIG. IT IS A MUCH CELEBRATED DAY, ALBEIT A SAD ONE FOR ANY CHILDREN WHO BEFRIEND THE PIG. IN PLASENCIA THERE IS A BUTCHER’S SHOP DECORATED WITH ART CELEBRATING THE MATANZA. WHEN THEY KILL THE PIG THE SPANIARDS MAKE CHORIZO SAUSAGES, FLAVOURED WITH LOTS OF PIMENTÓN, WHICH ARE THEN HUNG IN THE RAFTERS TO DRY AND ARE EATEN OVER WINTER. ON THE DAY OF MAKING THE SAUSAGES, A MEMBER OF THE PARTY FRIES UP A QUANTITY OF THE SAUSAGE MIXTURE TO FEED THE FAMILY. THIS DISH IS CALLED PICADILLO (MEANING ‘CHOPPED’). PICADILLO CAN NOW REFER TO MANY DIFFERENT DISHES. THIS VERSION USES BEAUTIFUL FRESH FISH MARINATED IN PAPRIKA, HERBS AND WHITE WINE. IT HAS A LOVELY TEXTURE AND DRY SWEET FINISH.

Ingredients

Raciones

  • 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) skinless tuna fillets, cut into 2.5 cm (1 inch) chunks
  • 1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon oregano leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 185 ml (6 fl oz/¾ cup) dry white wine
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt flakes

Method

Put the tuna, paprika, fennel seeds, oregano, garlic and parsley in a bowl with 100 ml ( fl oz) of the wine. Mix well, then cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

Heat half the olive oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over medium-high heat. Add half the tuna, season to taste with sea salt flakes and cook for 1 minute, or until golden. Add 2 tablespoons of the remaining wine, turn and cook the other side for another minute, then place on a warm serving plate — the idea is to cook and colour the tuna, but not overcook it.

Wipe the frying pan clean with paper towel and repeat with the remaining olive oil, tuna and wine. Allow to cool a little before serving.