I get this a lot. How can my muscles possibly recover if I don’t eat chicken, or turkey or burgers?
As many of you probably already know, there are lots of ways to get protein without consuming a typically meaty meal. I’m not a vegetarian, but due to personal choices in health – mainly that red meat disrupts my stomach and makes me nauseous, even though I grew up eating it – I don’t normally eat meat. Fish is a once a week treat, and the occasional slice of turkey or chicken or sirloin is even more rare. For the most part, if I have control over the menu and the food going onto my plate, it’s mostly going to be made up of fruits, veggies, healthy fats, whole grains and oodles of chickpeas.
On Sunday night, after running a little more than 9 miles, I decided to purchase the only meat I still eat on a somewhat regular basis: fish. I don’t cook or purchase fish often; it’s expensive and I’m extremely picky about quality. But I’ve recently discovered a cut of tuna from the Grand Central Market that, on most days, is phenomenal. (Still, you have to check it before actually buying it; they’ve had their off days too.)
If you’re looking for a simple, tasty recipe that doesn’t involve chicken or red meat, then I definitely recommend trying this simply tuna dish after a long, hard run. Best of all, because it requires such little preparation and cooking time, you won’t have to stand on your achy feet for too long.
What you need:
1/2 pound of tuna, about 1 to 1.5 inches thick (no dark or white spots; look for an even pink hue). This is enough for two people if served with side dishes.
Fresh black peppercorns
Fresh mustard seeds
Sesame seeds (white, black or both)
A can of PAM (or a dab of butter or olive oil, but I prefer the former)
How to prepare:
1. Prepare the tuna about an hour before you want to eat it.
2. Smash the fresh black peppercorns and mustard seeds to release the flavors.
3. Smother your tuna in a generous layer of all seasonings. Most of this will fall off, so the more the merrier.
4. Wrap the seasoned tuna back up in the paper it came in, or in Saran wrap.
5. Place in the refrigerator. You want the tuna as cold as possible before cooking.
How to cook:
1. Take the tuna out of the refrigerator and unwrap it. You won’t want to be scrambling by the time the pan is ready. Have tongs and a knife ready.
2. Heat a pan with PAM cooking spray. You want the pan to be super hot. To check, let a drop of water fall from your finger onto the pan. If it sizzles, the pan is ready. If it doesn’t, be patient.
3. Place the tuna on the pan and let it sear. A 1.5 inch piece, on my ghetto NYC stove, took about 2 minutes per side. My mom would kill me for saying this, but if you feel more comfortable, cut into the center with a knife to check on whether it’s as rare or cooked as you like it. Me? I prefer my dish black and blue, like this.
4. Before removing it from the pan, take a pair of tongs, lift the filet, and sear the edges, giving it a nice brown, cooked look.
5. Slice into pieces and enjoy. You can even get creative and make mini lettuce wraps using endive leaves.