Psychedelic Surf and Turf
For the most part the recipes featured on this blog are my own or variations on traditional standards. Every once in a while however I come across a “new” recipe that I instantly think I must try to recreate. This is one of those recipes.
I have lost count of the number of times I’ve cooked something which I imagined to be hugely original, only to discover that not only has it already been attempted and recorded but has usually been a vast improvement on my own efforts.
However you feel about religion it does have some great quotes and Ecclesiates nails it with: “That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one might say, “See this, it is new “? Already it has existed for ages Which were before us.”
It is easy to imagine something original – marmite glazed squid!* – but to make something original and tasty? You’ve got your work cut out.
*makes a note to try marmite glazed squid
I was already planning on posting a few recipes incorporating a raw central ingredient when I stumbled across this recipe for a tuna tartare paired with roasted bone marrow from a restaurant called The Spence in Atlanta. My attention was immediately aroused, I’ve always called my fiancée “Spence” (her surname is Spencer). Then seeing a recipe which pairs chilled tuna tartare with hot roasted bone marrow and fried quail eggs, surely this couldn’t work?
Well I’m happy to report it did, I enjoyed it. I think if I made it again I’d add a spritz of lime juice to the tuna tartare to add a little zing, but other than that it really worked well.
This is definitely a starter or small plate dish, far too rich for a main, but none the worse for that. Better still there is barely any cooking involved, the hardest thing in creating this dish is sourcing the ingredients.
For the bone marrow, if you are on good terms with your butcher they should be able to cut you some, or Waitrose often have some vac packed in the refrigerated steak section for 99p a portion.
For the tartare you really do need to get sushi grade tuna which I realise can be tricky to get hold of if you live outside of a major metropolitan area (although it is available to order online) but it isn’t worth making this with anything less.
The regular stuff they sell you in a supermarket or fishmongers? That isn’t going to cut it, it’d be like making Steak Tartare with beef mince. If it doesn’t explicitly state “sushi grade” it isn’t something you should be considering eating raw. As an example, this is what I used:
I’m lucky that I have a local deli/fishmongers who set up a sushi bar on a Saturday outside their shop, so I know if I go on a Friday afternoon I’m getting the good stuff they’ll be serving the following day.
Frying the Quail eggs correctly is the trickiest part of the whole dish, I favour the method described here (but don’t flip the eggs). To break the eggs I use a small sharp knife and give the eggs a firm whack in the middle and break them into a ramekin.
This is one to try if you’re feeling a bit experimental, but it certainly isn’t style over substance.
Unctuous, delicious, moreish…I urge you to give it a go!
Cooking time: 20 mins
Serves: 2 portions
3 x Beef bones (femur) with marrow intact, cut lengthwise (like this)
150g Sushi grade tuna
4 x Quail eggs
1 Tbsp Rapeseed oil (or vegetable)
3 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp Lime juice (optional)
1/2 Preserved Lemon – peel only, very finely chopped
1 Tbsp Capers, chopped
1 Tbsp Cornichons, chopped
1 Tbsp Chives, very finely chopped
1 Shallot, finely diced
Flat leaf parsley leaves for garnish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 x Garlic clove
2 x Slice of whole grain sourdough bread
Preheat your oven to 200°C.
Place the beef bones in an oven proof dish, marrow up and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 18 mins.
Whilst these are cooking take your sharpest knife and carefully dice the tuna into very small cubes, 1-2 cm. Place in a bowl and keep refrigerated.
In a separate bowl add the finely diced preserved lemon peel, capers, cornichons, shallot, chives and oil. Mix well, refrigerate.
Break 4 quails eggs as described above into a ramekin.
Place a frying pan over a low/medium heat with 1 Tbsp Rapeseed oil.
After 18 mins remove the beef bones from the oven. I specified three bones as all of them will have lost some of their marrow in the cooking process, patch the holes in the best looking two bones with the remaining marrow from the third. Cover with foil and set aside.
Add the lemon, caper, cornichon, shallot, chive, oil mix to the tuna tartare 1 tsp at a time along with lime juice, salt and pepper until you achieve a mix you are happy with. If anything I would ever so slightly under season the tartare as the bone marrow will make up for it.
Toast or griddle the slices of whole grain sourdough, drizzle with oil, rub with the garlic clove, set aside
Fry the quail eggs as illustrated here, but don’t flip, they will cook in no time at all, 45 seconds or so. If you have the time, spoon the cooking oil over the eggs as they fry. Once the whites are set, remove from the pan and set to one side.
Time to plate up!
For each plate:
Cut each slice of toast in half diagonally and place a half on each side of the plate.
Place a bone in the centre of each plate and use the toast to keep it balanced, marrow facing upright.
Spoon a good portion of the tuna tartare along the length of each bone.
Top with two quail eggs, a garnish of flat leaf parsley leaves and a pinch of finely chopped chives, serve.