Peppered Tuna Boulangère

Bored with our usual ways of cooking tuna (plainly grilled, or pan-fried with onions and bacon) we decided to try this recipe from our favourite cookery magazine, Cuisines et Vins de France. A truly excellent choice — though more time-consuming, the result was delicious, and very different. Highly recommended. Serves 4.

1 large slice fresh tuna (about 800g)
1 kg waxy potatoes (we used new potatoes with the skins on)
4 large onions
100 ml dry white wine
2 chicken stock cubes or 1 litre chicken stock
30 g butter
1 tsp piment d’Espelette (dried chili flakes)
4 sprigs thyme
salt and pepper

If using stock cubes, dissolve them in 1 litre of water. Finely slice the onions, put them in a pan with a ladleful of stock, and cook very gently for about 30 minutes, until very soft.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Butter an ovenproof dish (we used one of those Spanish earthenware ones). Slice the potatoes evenly, season with salt and pepper, and arrange in the dish with the stewed onions. Sprinkle with half the thyme, crumbled, and pour over the rest of the hot stock and the wine. Bake for 25 minutes.

Season the tuna on both sides with salt, the rest of the thyme, and the chili flakes. Place on top of the potatoes, and return to the oven for a further 20 minutes, until cooked.

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