Pasta Salad with Tuna, Red Onions, and Frisee
This main dish is perfect for warm evenings -- the quickly-seared tuna adds enough substance to make this a satisfying meal.
- 1 tuna steak (about 10 ounces)
- Coarse salt
- 8 ounces chiocciole (or medium shells)
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 small red onions, sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/3 cup red-wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons salt-packed capers, rinsed
- 1/8 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- 1 head frisee, green parts only
- Bring tuna to room temperature. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup water. Drizzle with just enough oil to coat. Spread on a baking sheet, and refrigerate 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle tuna with salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add tuna, and reduce heat to medium. Cook until cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes per side. Transfer to a bowl, and flake with a fork. Toss with 2 tablespoons oil and remaining lemon juice.
- Heat remaining tablespoon oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Add onions, and cook until soft, about 12 minutes, adding reserved pasta water a tablespoon at a time if onions dry out. Add garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper, and cook for 2 minutes. Add vinegar, capers, and red-pepper flakes, and cook until the liquid has been absorbed, about 3 minutes. Add to tuna, and let cool.
- Toss together pasta, tuna-onion mixture, frisee, salt, and pepper. Drizzle with oil. Serve at room temperature.
Resist the urge to rinse cooked pasta with cold water to bring it to room temperature; this washes away most of its starch, which helps the sauce and other ingredients adhere. Instead, drain pasta, drizzle with olive oil, spread on a rimmed baking sheet, and refrigerate for about 10 minutes.
Photo by Johansen Krause