I've cooked my way through all 264 recipes
in The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook!

May 15, 2010

Provencal Braised Tuna (p. 358) and Tunisian Carrot Salad with Harissa and Feta Cheese (p. 82)

I feel like I've been doing a lot of veggie dishes lately. A lot of that is because we're now getting fresh local produce to our doorstep once a week, but I'm ready to get back on the meat-eating train. So, although I previously claimed that fish is a vegetable, I'm starting there.

The tuna I picked up at our brand new swanky two-story Harris Teeter earlier this week looked beautiful, and most of the veggies in this dish are from our CSA. The entire meal is prepared inside of one dish, which I love, as does Matt (my dishwasher and sometime sous-chef.)

In the bottom of a casserole dish or kettle, scatter half of a chopped onion (or, if you're making the full recipe, a whole onion -- I halved everything.) On top of this layer, put a layer of chopped tomatoes and one of thinly sliced lemons. Add salt, pepper, and rosemary.

Next comes the fish -- I used about a pound of tuna steaks, but swordfish would also be appropriate, if your husband isn't afraid of the parasites in it (mine is, and when he talks about it I am, too.)

Salt and pepper the tops of the fish and then continue adding more layers or rosemary, lemons, tomatoes, onions, and more salt and pepper. Toss some chopped black olives across the top and tuck some rosemary into the side for flavor. Pour white wine over the whole thing and it's ready to be popped in the oven (with a tight aluminum foil cover as well as the lid) for about an hour and a half.

With this, I made Tunisian Carrot Salad with Harissa and Feta Cheese, since I still had plenty of leftover harissa from an earlier recipe. Put peeled and cut carrots into boiling water for about five minutes, toss them in cold water to halt the cooking, and then chop them coarsely.

Combine garlic, salt, and cumin into a paste, and dilute the harissa with cold water. Combine the harissa and garlic paste with the carrots, and mix them all together well. Add olive oil and red wine vinegar, mixing again. Over the top of the carrots, sprinkle feta cheese and black olives. Set aside at room temperature for about half an hour before serving.

This was a really lovely meal. I took the tuna out about 15 minutes early since I had halved the recipe, and that seemed to work out well. The fish had really absorbed the flavors of the lemon which was nicely balanced by the tomatoes, onions, and olives.

As I'm sure I've mentioned before, I don't love cooked carrots. That said, this was really good. I wish the flavors of the harissa stood out more, and if I were to make it again, I might not dilute that at all. Still, good salad. The feta and olives make it pretty salty, and the red wine vinegar gives a nice punch. We would make this one again.

tuna -- $8.99
olives -- $1.44
tomato -- $2.20 (CSA pro-rated amount) -- $2.20
onion -- $2.20 (CSA pro-rated amount) -- $2.20
white wine -- $5.99 (with most of it leftover)
Total Cost of Provencal Braised Tuna: $20.82 (two servings leftover)

olives -- $1.44
carrots -- $.99
Total Cost of Tunisian Carrot Salad with Harissa and Feta Cheese: $2.43 (about 3 servings leftover)


  1. how funny, this is the Smitten Kitchen recipe today:

    I had never heard of harissa until you mentioned it and now it is practically everywhere.

  2. That's so funny. It's pretty much exactly the same just with mint added in. And theirs looks a little prettier. :-) Harissa is awesome though, I'm kind of obsessed.


Thanks for dropping by! Love, Katrina.