Beer-brined smoked tuna
There is a great local restaurant in Lagos called Os Lambertos, which we have been going to for years. When we eat there, there are two dishes I absolutely love: if you like liver (I know a lot of people turn their nose up to offal), their liver and onions is simply the best. However, I absolutely love their tuna and onions. Their tuna has a unique flavour and recently I think I discovered what they do to the tuna to make it dance on your taste buds … they brine it before they cook it.
This got me thinking … and I decided to give fish brining a go. It resulted in the following home-smoked cooked dish which I hope you like.
I served it with a baked potato with crème fraîche and a few chives and a Portuguese salad.
(serves four people)
■ 4 x 2cm thick cut tuna steaks
■ 600cl of dark beer or stout
■ ½ cup of coarse sea salt
■ ½ cup of soft brown sugar
■ ¼ cup of pickling spice or black peppercorns
■ 3 x wood chunks or a couple of handfuls of a mild smoking wood such as Applewood.
1. Rinse the fish, pat dry with paper towels and place in a deep glass bowl or plastic container.
2. In a medium-size saucepan, bring the brine ingredients to a boil over a high heat. Stir to dissolve sugar and salt, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
3. Strain the brine over the fish so that it is completely covered in the brine. Cover and refrigerate for two to four hours.
4. Soak the wood chunks or chips in water.
5. Prepare your BBQ or smoker to cook indirectly.
6. When you are ready to cook, drain the wood and place the drained chips or chunks in a smoked box or in a disposable aluminium container and place over the charcoal or gas rings.
7. Tip away most of the brine but leave enough to coat the bottom of the fish and place the fish and remaining brine into another disposable aluminium container. Put this into the BBQ or smoker and cook indirectly for about 45 to 60 minutes and smoke until the fish is opaque and beginning to flake when tested with a fork but still moist.
Serve with the potato and salad and tip over a little of the sauce that the tuna has been cooking in.
If you really want to be decadent, slow sauté some sliced onions and garlic and place these on top of the tuna as well.
The smoke and the brine quite simply took the tuna to another level which we all enjoyed and will be cooking this way again.
Article supplied by Chris Winstanley from Moveison outdoor living store near Lagos