Friday, February 16, 2007

Grilled Tuna with Golden Beet Salad

While the food itself wasn't super fancy, we grilled up some fine looking rare tuna with a pretty simple marinade as an excuse to use some grains of paradise. The specs on the tuna itself are grains of paradise, a West African spice that is sometimes used as a substitute for black pepper. I think we found the difference to be subtle - but an excellent combination with a very basic lemon and olive oil marinade.

According to Wikipedia -- "Grains of paradise are commonly employed in the cooking styles of West Africa and North Africa, where they have been traditionally imported via caravan routes through the Sahara desert. Grains of paradise became a very fashionable substitute for black pepper in the 14th and 15th century Europe, especially in northern France, one of the most populous regions in Europe at the time. In the early modern period, the craze for the spice waned and it became more common as a flavorer for sausages and beer. Today it is largely unknown outside of West and North Africa except fas flavorers in some beers and gins.

In West African folk medicine, Grains of Paradise are valued for their warming and digestive properties. Grains of Paradise have been introduced to the Caribbean Islands, where they are used as medicine and for religious (voodoo) rites."

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