Manila Clam, English Pea and Charred Tomato Stew with Grilled "Rare" Tuna

Courtesy of Eric Bechard, executive chef, Alberta Street Oyster Bar & Grill. Serves 4-6

May 19, 2009 Published in the July 2006 issue of Portland Monthly

You may need to add another round of coals before you start grilling the stew or before you put the tuna on the grill. The tuna needs to be able to sear very quickly over very hot coals, and you’ll also need those hot coals to cook the dessert.

6 ahi tuna steaks (about 6 oz each)

3 tbsp olive oil

6 medium-sized tomatoes

1/2 lb chorizo (uncased)

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 cup white wine

1/2 cup orange juice

1 lb manila clams, washed

1 cup fresh (or frozen) English peas, shucked

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Rub the tuna steaks with approx. 1 tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

2. Rub the tomatoes with 1 tbsp olive oil and place on a very hot grill until slightly charred, about 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.

3. Place a medium-sized metal saucepan (preferably with a long handle) on the grill until it is very hot, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in the pan, then add the chorizo and cook, stirring often, until completely browned, about 5 minutes.

4. Add the onion to the chorizo and cook until soft, about 3 minutes.

5. Add the wine, orange juice and charred tomatoes, and simmer the mixture until the tomatoes begin to soften, about 10 minutes.

6. You may want to break the tomatoes up with a wooden spoon to help them cook faster.

7. Season the stew with salt and pepper, add the clams and peas, and simmer until clams pop open, about 2-3 minutes. (Discard any clams that don’t open within a reasonable amount of time.) Remove stew from heat.

8. Place the tuna steaks on a hot grill for about 2 minutes per side. The fish should be cooked rare so that the outside is seared and the majority of the inside is pink. Let the fish cool slightly, then slice about ¼-inch thick.

9.Place the stew in individual soup bowls and top with 4-5 slices of tuna.

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