For most of us, time is something we never seem to have enough of. We’re so wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of our busy lives that cooking often becomes an afterthought – it’s tempting just to grab a takeaway or buy something to pop in the microwave. But producing a quick, nutritious meal needn’t take an age or be complicated, and it can certainly be enjoyable… fast food can be fun food!
Take this pepper-crusted tuna steak for example; it’s reading in just 25 minutes, and served alongside the bean compote it makes for a complete and healthy meal! Tuna has a meaty texture that works really well with the crunchy peppercorn coating. The sugar tempers the heat of the pepper a little, so don’t be tempted to leave it out.
Pepper-Crusted Tuna with Bean Compote and Couscous
Total Time: 25 minutes
300g/10 ½ oz/heaped 1 ½ cups couscous
500ml/ 17fl oz/2 cups hot vegetable stock
4 handfuls of trimmed fine green beans
1 handful of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 handful of pitted black olives
2 garlic cloves, crushed
135ml/4 ½ fl oz/ generous ½ cup olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 tuna steaks, each about 200g/7oz
2 tbsp coarsely ground black peppercorns
1 tsp muscovado sugar
1. Put the couscous in a bowl and pour the hot stock over to cover. Stir, cover, and leave to stand for 5–6 minutes until the stock is absorbed. Fluff up the couscous with a fork, then set aside, covered.
2. In the meantime, blanch the beans in boiling salted water for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Transfer to a saucepan and stir in the tomatoes, olives and garlic. Pour in 6 tablespoons of the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar, then warm over a low heat for 4–5 minutes.
3. In the meantime, brush the tuna steaks with a little of the remaining olive oil. Mix the ground peppercorns and sugar together and press firmly over both sides of the tuna to coat.
4. Heat the rest of the oil in a griddle pan over a medium-high heat. Griddle the tuna for about 2 minutes on each side until seared but still slightly pink in the centre (the exact cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the steaks).
Serve the tuna with the bean compote and couscous.
Who’d have thought that in less than thirty minutes it’s possible to roast red mullet and serve it with a chilli and garlic vinaigrette, bake a cherry tomato clafoutis, or rustle up a thai chicken curry? These are dishes that are sure to be popular family meals, yet will also go down well at any dinner party.
You can find them all in Express Meals, with full-meal recipes that take just five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five and thirty minutes to make.
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