This week ushers in the first of a new series we’re calling Cat in the Kitchen. Local area chefs give me a sneak peek behind the scenes at some of your favorite restaurants and they’ll even share a signature recipe that you can try out at home. This week Jamie Knott of Church St. Cafe will share his recipe for Pan Seared Tuna with Corn Relish.
Jamie started his culinary career when he moved to Boston after he finished high school in Nutley NJ. He worked in a number of restaurants there and when he decided that he wanted to make cooking his professional career he moved back to the New York metro area and attended the New York Restaurant School. After graduation Chef Knott worked his way up the kitchen ladder by doing stints in the NYC kitchens of Brasserie 8Â½, Nick & Stef’s Steakhouse and finally at Cafe Centro where he started at the bottom and quickly moved up through the ranks at record speed. Our local, highly acclaimed favorite Fascino brought Jamie in as the sous chef when they opened in July of 2003 and where he has spent the past 12 months perfecting his skills. Now at Church St. Cafe, Jamie takes the reins as executive chef and by the regular crowd already amassing we think he’s starting to really make a name for himself.
Church St. Cafe is open for lunch from 11:30 till 3:30 Tuesday through Saturday, brunch 11:00 to 4:00 on Sunday and starting today, for dinner from 5:30 till 8:30 mid-week and from 5:30 till 9:30 on Fridays & Saturdays. Coming soon ……………..new breakfast hours too!
Spiced Pan-Seared Tuna with Corn Relish
6.5 oz sushi-grade tuna
Moroccan spice rub**
5 ears silver queen corn or the freshest available
1 pint cherry tomatoes
4-5 leaves fresh basil chiffonad
2 Tbs. sherry vinegar
1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1) Roll tuna in spice rub till it’s well coated on all sides
2) Preheat a sautÃ© pan till very hot then add a drizzle of olive oil and a small dab of butter and sear the tuna on all sides, approximately 30 seconds per side
3) Let the tuna rest off the heat while you make the relish – about 4 minutes
1) Slice the corn off the cob and sautÃ© in a little oil & butter and a splash of chicken stock till warmed through and a slightly deeper golden color. Set aside and allow to cool.
2) Slice the cherry tomatoes in half and toss with the corn, basil, oil and vinegar. Add salt & pepper to taste.
3) Slice the tuna on the diagonal.
To plate the dish, first, spoon some of the corn relish on the plate and spread it out. Place the tuna on top and sprinkle a bit of sea salt on the pink part of each piece of tuna. Enjoy!
** Moroccan style spice blends can be found at your local grocery store or specialty market. If you have trouble finding it you can substitute almost any other enthnic spice blend. McCormack’s spices is making a number of them now and they’re available at the A&P.