Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Think of It as a Motherhood Anniversary
What’s cooking? Bacon-wrapped Tuna Steaks with Sesame Sauce

 As of this day, I’ve been a mother for exactly 30 years. Three decades of alternately worrying, cheering, prodding, encouraging, admonishing, and marveling. Caring more than I would have thought was possible.

The pregnancy was something of a lark, without the morning sickness or other complications I’d heard about. I knew life would change, but without a clear understanding of how. Twenty-two hours of labor and a C-section still didn’t make me feel different as a person. And even when I held him in my hospital bed, his warm little head tucked up under my chin, we were both being cared for, both special, both on the receiving end of visits and attention from loving friends and family.

Then it was time to go home. I got dressed and packed my bag. My husband arrived with the baby’s clothes as the nurse brought our son down to us in a rolling bassinet. She left the room, and only seconds after the door closed, the baby started to cry. Maybe he knew what neophytes we were. I looked at my husband. He looked at me. Two pairs of eyes wide with the same panic and dawning reality, each of us hoping the other would know what to do. It was my first hint of understanding what Motherhood would mean.

Only 10,967 days later, that baby has turned out amazingly well. Which just goes to show that we all get better with experience, and that children will survive whatever mistakes you may make if you love them enough. I must have gotten that part right.

* * *

One of my first born’s favorite meals is grilled tuna steaks, and the very best preparation I know for these came from a now-defunct restaurant in a ramshackle fishing village named Port Aransas, on the Texas coast. It wasn’t even summertime when I called the place and cajoled the chef into divulging the recipe. I guess he hadn’t gotten many calls from New Jersey.

Bacon-wrapped Tuna Steaks with Sesame Sauce

4 6-oz tuna steaks
4 slices bacon

For the sauce:
¼ c sesame seeds
1 c balsamic vinegar
½ c soy sauce
½ c honey
2-3 oz. veal demiglace [Kitchen Goddess note #1: if demiglace is not available, or I’m just not feeling like another trip to the store, I use one can salt-free beef broth, simmered until it is reduced to ¼ c.]
¼ lb (one stick) unsalted butter, cut into eighths (one stick = 8 Tbl)

Place sesame seeds in a dry skillet or sauce pan and toast briefly until browned. Add remaining liquid ingredients – vinegar, soy sauce, honey, and demiglace – and simmer until it is reduced by one-half. Reduce heat to very low, or remove from heat until ready to serve.

In the meantime, wrap individual tuna steaks (best is about 1" thick) in bacon (secure with toothpicks), and sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides. Grill steaks for 5-7 minutes/side or until medium/medium-rare.

When steaks are ready to serve, reheat sauce on medium-low and whisk in butter, one tablespoon at a time, being careful not to allow the mixture to boil. Pour sauce over steaks and serve extra sauce on the side.

Kitchen Goddess note #2: Leftover sauce – the recipe makes a lot – can be saved in the frig and reheated – carefully – in a microwave. Although I could devour it all by itself.

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