Seared tuna with courgette & basil
3 tbsp butter, chopped
5 garlic cloves, finely sliced
400g cherry tomatoes, halved
100ml tomato passata
8 female courgette flowers (with courgettes attached)
Salt and pepper
4 x 160g thick-cut tuna steaks, skinned
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp green olives, pitted, chopped
8 basil leaves
PREPARATION: 10 MINUTES
COOKING TIME: 20 MINUTES
Heat the butter in a frying pan over medium heat, add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes or until soft and fragrant but not coloured. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes or until softened. Add the passata, bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat and season.
Separate the flowers from the courgettes and reserve. Then, finely slice the courgettes lengthwise. Cook in boiling, salted water for 1 minute, drain, refresh in iced water, drain again and set aside.
Heat a frying pan until smoking and season the tuna. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the hot pan, add the tuna and cook for 2 minutes each side for rare, or until cooked to your liking.
Place the courgettes and olives in a bowl, tear the flowers and basil on top, season and toss with the remaining olive oil.
To serve, divide the warm tomato sauce among dinner plates and top with the courgette salad and the tuna.
Tangelo & polenta cake
4 tangelos, zested(or small, sweet oranges)
450g unsalted butter, plus a little extra for greasing
550g caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, split
450g almond meal
225g instant polenta
1 tsp baking powder
PREPARATION: 20 MINUTES (plus cooling time)
COOKING TIME: 1 HOUR 25 MINUTES
Heat the oven to 165°C/329°F/gas mark 3. Lightly grease a 30cm diameter spring-form cake tin and line with baking paper.
Juice two of the zested tangelos, then slice the remaining two.
Use the paddle of an electric beater to cream the butter and 450g of the sugar for about 5 minutes or until pale. Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure each is combined before adding the next.
Scrape in the seeds of the vanilla bean, and beat in the tangelo zest and one quarter of the tangelo juice.
Lastly, add the almond meal, polenta, baking powder and a pinch of sea salt. Once combined, pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until a thin skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Meanwhile, combine the remaining sugar with the sliced tangelos and the remaining tangelo juice in a small, non-reactive saucepan. Bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes or until syrupy.
Pour the hot syrup over the cake while it is still in its tin, and allow to cool.
Cut into big wedges to serve.
Recipes taken from Alla Fratelli How To Eat Italian by Barry McDonald (£20, Murdoch Books), photographs by Rob Palmer. To order your copy, call the Express Bookshop on 01872 562310, send a cheque or postal order made payable to The Express Bookshop to Express Bookshop, PO Box 200, Falmouth, Cornwall TR11 4WJ, or order at expressbookshop.com.