Friday, January 26, 2007

Fast Food, Anyone?

It's Friday. You're tired. You've been working all week (or so you'd like your boss to believe). The last thing you want to do when you get home is get crackin' on a port wine reduction. Save that for Saturday, when you've got all afternoon to prep. Of course, you could go out, but sometimes that's just as tiring as cooking. Some nights you just want to stay home and eat something great. What's the answer? Chinese takeout? Maybe. Pizza? Not tonight. Tonight you want something delicious and light, not some greasy junk food; you had enough of that last week watching football. I've got you covered (Actually, Italian Easy Two, my favorite cookbook of the moment, has you covered, but whatever).

Here's what you do. On your way home from work, stop by the nearest Whole Foods or Gelsons (or your fishmonger, if you're lucky enough to have one), and pick up a pound of their absolute best, freshest tuna (I use Ahi, but there are other varieties that work, too). Again, this stuff had better be fresh. Ask when they got it. If it doesn't look good, abandon the plan and order take out. If they've got the good stuff, get it. Pick up a bottle of wine. Grab some mixed greens, some fresh tomatoes, and anything else you want to throw into a salad. While you're in the produce section, pick up a lemon and a few dried red chili peppers. Finally, head over to the bakery and get a nice loaf of sourdough, the fresher the better. Got everything? OK. Stop by the video store and pick up a good rom com or whatever it is you like to watch on a Friday night when you're absolutely not leaving the house. Now go home.

Throw the salad together. You could get more ambitious and make some sort of lemon grass slaw or something, but this meal is all about ease and convenience, so I say stick to a simple mixed green salad. Slice the sourdough bread into big, thick slices, and broil it until dark and crispy. Drizzle some olive oil over the toast. Cut the lemon in half and crush the chilies. Now, take your sharpest knife and slice the tuna into 1/4 inch strips, cutting across the grain of the meat. Plate the strips and season with sea salt, freshly-crushed black pepper, and the crushed chilies. Serve with the lemon, toast, and salad. Enjoy. The total cost of this meal is about $35, and that assumes you have to buy the chilies and the lemon, and that you spend about $8 on wine. It's probably cheaper than what you'd pay at a restaurant, it's almost certainly healthier than Chinese takeout, and you don't have to cook a thing (OK, you have to toast some bread, but come on). That's some serious fast food.

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