Weir Cooking in the City: Herb-Crusted Tuna Skewers with Tomato Aïoli

Serves: 6

I have a ton of skewers of all sizes on hand in my kitchen. I find that I can make a simple dinner into something that looks more elaborate by simply skewering the food, whether it is tuna, salmon, halibut, shrimp, scallops, chicken, pork, lamb, beef, or vegetables. Sometimes I serve a few different kinds of skewers with a couple of different sauces. It makes for a fun dinner party and lots of conversation. I've also taken this dish to picnics; it's "shake, rattle, and roll" proof.

• 2 lemons
• 1/2 cup olive oil (not extra-virgin)
• 1 egg yolk
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• 1/2 cup peanut, vegetable, corn, or safflower oil
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 3 tablespoons tomato paste
• 3 tablespoons water
• 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
• 1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
• 1 1/2 pounds fresh ahi tuna, cut into 1-inch chunks
• 12 lemon wedges, halved
• Whole leaves of fresh flat-leaf parsley as a garnish

Juice the lemons and place in a container large enough to hold 12 6- to 8-inch skewers. Soak the bamboo skewers in the lemon juice for 1 hour.

Make the aïoli:
In a small bowl, whisk 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, the egg yolk, and the mustard together until an emulsion is formed.

Combine the remaining olive oil and the peanut oil.

Add the oil to the emulsion drop by drop in a steady stream, whisking constantly, until all of the oil has been added. Do not add the oil too quickly and be sure that the emulsion is homogeneous before adding more oil.

Add the garlic, tomato paste, and water and mix well. Season to taste with the lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

Heat an outdoor charcoal grill. Alternatively you can heat a nonstick ridged grill pan over medium-high heat for 10 minutes.

On a plate, toss together the parsley, chives, thyme, and oregano on the counter.

Skewer the tuna and press the skewers into the herb mixture, coating all sides of the tuna. Place a wedge of lemon on each end.

Grill the skewers of tuna, turning every 2 minutes, until cooked but still slightly pink inside, 5 to 7 minutes total.

Remove the tuna skewers from the grill and place on a platter. Garnish with the parsley leaves. Place the aïoli in a small bowl and serve it alongside the tuna.

Wine suggestion: Any white Rhône wine or rosé

Recipe ©2004 Joanne Weir from Weir Cooking in the City, reprinted by permission.