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Gulf of Mexico Rare Yellowfin Tuna Salad with Roasted Fennel, Capers and Olive Vinaigrette

From: Chef Dean James Max,
3030 Ocean Restaurant and Bar
Ft. Lauderdale.
Yield: 6 servings.

Yellowfin Tuna:
2 lb. Florida yellowfin tuna, sushi grade, center-cut piece
to taste, salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. capers, smallest

Black Olive Vinaigrette:
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. sea salt
1 tsp. ground white pepper
¼ cup pitted black olives
2 anchovy fillets
1 Tbsp. capers
1 Tbsp. garlic confit
2 Tbsp. champagne vinegar
¾ cup exra virgin olive oil

Chickpea Puree:
1 lb. dried chickpeas
3 qt. water
6 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
1 small onion
1 fennel, root and top pieces
1 Florida celery rib
1 Florida lemon
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Roasted Fennel Garnish:
1 bulb fennel
4 Tbsp. olive oil

For yellowfin tuna: Request a center-cut piece of #1 sushi grade yellowfin tuna cut in one long log from your fishmonger. Season tuna with salt and cracked pepper. Heat sauté pan with 1 Tbsp. olive oil and sear tuna on all sides, 15 seconds per side. Remove tuna and transfer to plate to cool. Spoon black olive vinaigrette onto tuna and place in refrigerator until needed.

To serve: Slice 6 equal portions of tuna and spoon olive vinaigrette around plate. Spoon egg-sized dollop of chickpea puree on each tuna slice. Lay cooled roasted fennel against it; brush tuna with additional olive oil and sprinkle with capers.

For black olive vinaigrette: Puree all ingredients, except oil, in a blender. When a paste has formed, drizzle in olive oil. Yields 1 cup for 6 servings.

For chickpea puree: Place chickpeas in pot of cold water. Wrap bay leaf, chopped small onion, fennel scraps, celery rib and 4 of the garlic cloves (smashed) in a sachet bag, cloth or cheese cloth. Bring chickpeas to boil and reduce heat to a light simmer. Cook peas until soft. Remove chickpeas and puree in blender with the 2 raw garlic cloves, lemon juice and olive oil. Season mixture with salt and pepper. Keep chilled until needed. Yields 6 servings.

For roasted fennel garnish: Trim root and tops from fennel bulb and use them in chickpea sachet. Slice fennel bulb into six ½-inch slices. Drizzle fennel with olive oil, salt and pepper; roast in 350°F oven for 10 minutes on a cookie sheet.