I used to belong to a professional chef's message board until the owner and his wife decided to turn it into a blog instead. We used to have some pretty interesting challenges among ourselves. I once challenged the group to come up with an ingredient I couldn't make sexy or erotic. One woman insisted I couldn't make pork sexy, stating that pigs were disgusting because they consume where they defecate and they engage in sexual intercourse with close relatives, so I thinly sliced some Prosciutto, wrapped it around melon balls and used a serving fork to place one on my lover's tongue while sitting in a cafe high on a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean, describing how the salty essence of the prosciutto blended with the sweetness of the melon to excite her taste buds. I was finally defeated by a woman who offered up those little sausages in a jar. I could not find anything sexy to do with those. Perverted, yes. Erotic, yes. But not sexy.
The reason I bring this up is that we were discussing casseroles and one challenge consisted of taking a simple everyday staple dish and prepare it in the most labour intensive manner, using the most expensive ingredients possible. You know, sort of like Emeril LaGasbag making green bean casserole with homemade wild mushroom soup and hand cut onion rings dredged in flour and Essence. The following was my contribution, sort of a kicked up Tuna Noodle Casserole:
NEW AGE TUNA NOODLE CASSEROLE
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup dry sherry
- ½ cup sesame oil
- ½ cup ginger, grated
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
- 1 tsp grey sea salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lb Sashimi grade Ahi tuna
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups flour
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 2 quarts chicken stock
- 2 Tbs butter
- ½ cup celery, chopped
- 1 shallot, diced
- 1 ½ cups haricot verts
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp fresh thyme
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 cup gruyere cheese, shredded
- ½ cup camembert cheese, diced
- 4 ounces dry white wine
- Pinch of nutmeg
- ¼ cup scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts
- ¼ cup carrot, diced small
- ¼ cup red bell pepper, diced small
Combine first seven ingredients (through black pepper) and marinate tuna for one hour. Remove tuna from marinade and discard marinade. Place tuna in a steamer over 1 inch of boiling water and cover. Steam for 6 to 8 minutes or until tuna flakes easily with a fork. Flake the tuna and put aside.
Beat eggs until frothy. Combine flour, kosher salt, and eggs to form a dough. Knead dough until smooth. Turn dough onto a floured cutting board and roll dough, turning often, until thin. Let dough dry 45 minutes, then turn and dry another half hour. Cut dried dough into noodles. Drop noodles into boiling chicken stock, reduce heat, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Drain and put aside.
Sauté celery and shallot in 2 Tbs butter and put aside. Place 1 ½ cups haricot verts in boiling water for 5 minutes, then into ice bath. Combine tuna, noodles, celery and shallots in a bowl.
Finely chop garlic and combine with salt. Place the egg yolk and Dijon mustard in a bowl and whisk. Slowly add olive oil as you continue to whisk. Once you've blended in all the olive oil, add the garlic lemon, and thyme. Add the sour cream, gruyere cheese, camembert cheese, white wine, and nutmeg, then fold in the tuna, noodle, celery and shallot mixture.
Spoon all ingredients into a buttered 4 quart casserole. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 to 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Garnish with scallion, carrot, and bell pepper.
BTW, if you're wondering about addition of the haricot vert, the lady with the jarred sausages said she didn't like peas in her tuna noodle casserole!