The aperitif hour: Tuna bruschetta
Last summer, I was invited for a weekend on Lummi Island in the San Juans, where friends from Seattle were restoring an old fisherman’s house a stone’s throw from the water. The first night we ate at Willows Inn, where the young Noma alum Blaine Wetzel is now a big reason to visit the island. The next, we hooked up the stove and cooked in the kitchen still under construction for the first time.
We wanted to keep it simple, so we spent some time making some simple bruschetta from ingredients we’d brought with us. The island is so small, there’s not much shopping to be done, certainly not for exotic ingredients. But there’s great crabbing and you can buy seafood directly from fishermen.
It was a beautiful day and Jim and Jennifer set a long table out on the front lawn/meadow. We popped open some rosés and sat down to enjoy a platter of mixed bruschetta, including one topped with canned imported tuna, tomatoes and caramelized onions.
StarKist won’t do it for a dish like this. You need a high-quality ventresca or tuna belly from Italy or Spain put up in olive oil, which you can find at Italian grocers, such as Guidi Marcello in Santa Monica or online at Corti Brothers in Sacramento. It’s expensive, but one bite signals that this tuna has nothing to do with the ordinary stuff.
Here’s how to make the bruschetta: Dice a couple of tomatoes. Slice half an onion thinly and caramelize in a little olive oil. Slice a baguette on the diagonal, brush with olive oil and toast on a griddle or in the oven. Top with diced tomato, caramelized onion and the tuna. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with chives.
-- S. Irene Virbila
Photos: Tuna bruschetta. Credit: S. Irene Virbila/Los Angeles Times