one step forward

"June is wide-eyed and blushing, and I am squeezing raw lemons over my own heart.” – freethepoets

I’ve written almost an entire post on Orlando, but I won’t publish it. The atrocity has dominated my thoughts and feelings for the past few weeks; anything regarding my sexuality or the expression of it suddenly feels overwhelming again. There are some things, however painful, which need to stay private for a time. But the act of getting it down on paper is helpful--thank you for that, dear reader.

I’ve been gearing up for the bounty of summer, readying my pantry for all of the evenings I know will require nothing more than an herb filled tomato salad and some crusty bread.  Perhaps a protein, given a quick sear on the grill, to be sliced and laid over the top. Cold grains. Vinaigrettes just begging to be sopped up with the softness of a sourdough. The uncomplicated. The antithesis of the past few weeks.

Dinner guests have been frequent as of late. Such good excuses to break out new ingredients, to prepare the cheese board, and to sip far too many glasses of wine. There’s been late night roof sitting, peeling back the layers of self, asking to be seen in the dim moonlight. Chicken saltimbocca, burratta with French honey and fennel salt, seared shrimp with tarragon and golden tomatoes. Fresh flowers. Berries swimming in vanilla-lemon cream.

Last week, I dove into one of Lindsey’s new cookbooks. A light and easy salad filled with basil, mint, and dill, scattered with multicolored tomatoes, coriander dusted and grilled albacore, and a tarragon buttermilk dressing. It sounds fussy, but it isn’t. I promise. And the ingredients can be reimagined and rearranged in any way your heart desires. It’s the kind of dish that makes you feel fancy. Because you are.

Herb and Tomato Salad with Grilled Albacore and Buttermilk Dressing
lightly adapted from “The Food Lover’s Cleanse” by Sara Dickerman; serves 4

Buttermilk Dressing:
¾ c. buttermilk
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 T. vegetable oil
1 T. lemon juice and 1 T. lemon zest
1 t. rice vinegar
2 t. minced tarragon
Salt and pepper

Herb and Tomato Salad:
1 shallot, sliced thinly
2 lbs multicolored and ripe tomatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
1 c. of your favorite green, preferably something tender and mild
Handful of torn herbs; whatever you have on hand. I used basil, mint and dill

1.5 lbs albacore tuna fillets
1 t. coriander seeds, toasted and crushed
Vegetable oil
Salt and Pepper

Begin by combining all of the buttermilk dressing ingredients in a small jar. Shake until combined and check for seasoning. Add salt and pepper accordingly. Dressing will be thin and this is okay.

Combine salad ingredients on plates or in bowls as you see fit. There’s no right or wrong way.

Preheat your grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Combine crushed coriander with a large pinch of kosher salt and a good grind of pepper. Brush the fillets with oil and sprinkle the coriander mixture evenly over all surfaces.

Oil your grill pan or grill and cook tuna until each side is lightly browned, 2-3 minutes per side. Continue cooking until medium-rare—the center will still be a bit translucent.

Slice the tuna and lay over your salad. Drizzle buttermilk dressing all over, top with flaky sea salt and serve.