Cooking on a hot slate is a traditional method of cooking in France called Pierrade. It is rustic, but very elegant in it’s simplicity. The slate imparts a nice minerally flavor to the food and gives it a beautiful browned finish with chunky marinade ingredients still in tact.
This recipe is just the beginning of what one can cook on stone: beef, vegetables, whole stuffed trout, prawns, anything you would cook in a pan or griddle can be made on this stone and it will all be finished with a smoky outdoor flavor. This is a splendid way to entertain, it’s like camping out with your friends but with really good food!
At the Splendid Market we bought a piece of slate from a stone yard to fit our Tuscan Grill the grill set up can be ordered from spitjack. This could also be set up in an indoor fireplace.
One can buy a natural piece of slate at a rockery store or home improvement store. Rinse the stone well. To “cure” the slate (this helps to keep it from breaking) it needs to be heated slowly, lean the stone against the wall of the fireplace as the fire begins. When the fire turns to coals, brush oil on the slate using a basting brush and place it over the heat on a grill (or propped up using logs or rocks).
There are other options for this style of cooking available at Sur la Table, a lovely Himalayan Salt Plate and a Granite Piastra (the Italian version) by Mario Batali. We like the granite piece because it has a raised grill surface on one side, which marks the food nicely. The other side is flat with a well around the perimeter to collect any overflow. The salt plate is beautiful and can be used for grilling or chilled to display sushi.
Ahi Tuna Steaks au Pierrade1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
3 cloves garlic coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 pinch sea salt
2 ahi tuna steaks
Mix the first 5 ingredients together in a glass baking dish. Add the steaks to the marinade making sure to cover both sides with a combination of the ingredients. Cover with plastic and let sit in refrigerator for 1/2 hour.
Heat cured slate stone on grill, brush with olive oil. Test to make sure the stone is hot enough with a dribble of water — it should sizzle on the stone.
Sprinkle steaks with salt and place on stone. For thick steaks, it should take about 6 minutes per side. Turn steaks and finish cooking.
Bed of Spinach
The tuna steaks make a delicious main course when presented on a bed of sauteed spinach, this can be done while the steaks are cooking.
16 oz. baby spinach, freshly rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 pinch sea salt
Pour oil in wok or large skillet, when warm toss in spinach. Allow the bottom layer of spinach to wilt and turn a little golden then begin tossing the spinach. When about 3/4 of the spinach is wilted, turn off the heat, sprinkle on garlic, lemon juice and salt. Toss lightly. Put lid on pan and allow it to finish wilting.
Spoon a bed of spinach on each plate and nestle the tuna steaks on top.
Sit by the fire, sing a round of kumbaya with your friends and enjoy the meal with a chilled white bordeaux.
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