With its tomato, red bell pepper, black olives, thyme, and tuna, this salad sings of sunny southern France. Boiling the rice rather than steaming it cuts down the cooking time considerably.
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1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
1 small red onion, chopped
1 large tomato, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 red bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 cup black olives, such as Kalamata, halved and pitted
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
4 tuna steaks, about 1/2 inch thick (1 1/2 pounds in all)
How to Make It
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the rice until just done, about 10 minutes. Drain. Rinse with cold water. Drain thoroughly.
In a medium glass or stainless-steel bowl, combine the rice, onion, tomato, bell pepper, olives, parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon of the thyme. In a small glass or stainless-steel bowl, whisk the vinegar with the mustard, garlic, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper. Add the 1/3 cup oil slowly, whisking. Toss this vinaigrette with the rice.
Rub the tuna with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Heat a grill pan or large heavy frying pan over moderately high heat. Put the tuna in the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Turn and cook until done to your taste, about 2 minutes longer for medium rare. Mound the rice on plates and top with the tuna.
Look for a light, refreshing white wine from the Mediterranean. Either a bottle of the delightful Albariño from Galicia in Spain or a Côtes de Gascogne from southwestern France would be appropriate.
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