Tuna with Roasted Vegetables and Capers

This dish is so easy and incredible at the same time.  It is a one-pan dish with super easy cleanup, making it perfect for a Friday night dinner where you just want to relax and enjoy the end of the week.  I made this last Friday night with the help of C, and he was definitely impressed by both the flavor and the ease with which we were able to put this dinner together.  Bump up the amount of vegetables and the number of tuna steaks, and you really have a super easy dinner party meal.

The inspiration for this meal came from Gwyneth Paltrow, yet again! I know I've said it before, but her new book, My Father's Daughter, has really been fun to explore.  I love Gwyneth's attitude towards food - she seems to see cooking as both a challenge and a way to nurture those around her.  I've felt that way about cooking for a while now, and it's always great to find a kindred spirit who has wisdom to impart.

I based this dish on Gwyneth's recipe for Hot Niçoise Salad.  I know my audience, and while niçoise olives and anchovies weren't going to fly with C, the concept of cooking tuna steaks on a bed of green beans, tomatoes, red peppers, and basil enticed me for sure.  The recipe called for pre-roasted peppers and steamed green beans, but I simplified the recipe further by just throwing the peppers in the oven first for a few minutes, then adding the beans to roast for a few minutes, and then preparing the rest of the ingredients while those were cooking.  

The result was wonderful.  Perfectly cooked tuna steaks and flavorful vegetables all prepared at the same time.  Only a couple dishes to wash, and C and I could just relax and enjoy the rest of the night.  Make this tomorrow night and you'll understand.  

Tuna with Roasted Vegetables and Capers (Makes 2 servings)
1 red bell pepper
1/4 pound green beens
1-2 medium tomatoes or a handful of cherry or grape tomatoes
2 6-oz. tuna steaks
1 tablespoon capers, drained
6-7 fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes
Olive oil, about 2 Tablespoons total
Half of a lemon

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Prepare a half sheet baking pan with a piece of parchment paper.

1.  Core and slice the red pepper into 1/2-inch strips.  Place the strips onto the prepared baking pan, drizzle with about 1 teaspoon of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place in the preheated oven and start preparing your green beans - the peppers should cook for about 10 minutes or so while you're working on the green beans.

2.  Place the green beans in a bowl of cold water to rinse and remove a handful at a time to trim the ends (or just break them off - this was C's job).  When the beans are all finished, pull the pan with the peppers out of the oven.  Distribute the green beans on top of the peppers.  Add about another teaspoon of oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper (maybe throw in a pinch of red pepper flakes for heat if you're up for it), and put the pan back in the oven for a few more minutes while you get everything else ready.

3.  If you're using medium-sized tomatoes, give them a rough chop and set aside.  If you're using cherry or grape tomatoes, just cut them in half.  Mince your garlic and drain your capers.  Prepare the tuna steaks by rubbing each steak with about a 1/2 Tablespoon of oil each and sprinkling each side of the steak with salt and pepper.
4.  Pull the pan out again (your green beans should have brightened in color a bit), and add the tomatoes, basil leaves, capers, and minced garlic to the pan.  Drizzle about another teaspoon or so of olive oil over the whole mixture, and sprinkle with a bit more salt and pepper (it's good to season a dish like this in layers so that each vegetables is properly seasoned).  Lay the tuna steaks on the bed of vegetables in the middle of the pan.

5.  Put the pan back in the oven (for the last time, I promise), and cook everything for 12 minutes at 400 degrees, until the tuna is cooked through but still moist.  Take the pan out and squeeze half a lemon over the entire pan.  Serve hot.
This dinner will feel very light when you're eating it, but it's really pretty hearty.  The tuna steak is quite substantial, and the roasted vegetables are the perfect accompaniment.  Serve with additional lemon wedges if you really like lemon on your fish.

Here are the nutrition facts for one serving, including a 6-oz. tuna steak and half of the vegetables. You get more than enough protein in this dish, so if you want to reduce your portion to about 4-oz. of tuna, you'll still be plenty satisfied and cut out about 75 calories and 15 grams of protein from the numbers below.  This recipe has no cholesterol, is high in Vitamins A and C, and has lots of protein.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 402 g
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 
Saturated Fat 
Total Carbohydrates 
Dietary Fiber 
Vitamin A 55%Vitamin C 171%
Calcium 3%Iron 7%

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