In his spare time, Las Vegas chef Royden Ellamar loves mountain biking, 4×4 off-road adventures, “and working on my 1964 Buick Wildcat.” Ellamar, executive chef at Sensi, at the Bellagio Resort & Casino, also likes visiting local farms to “see what is growing in this desert. I’m always amazed!” Back at his restaurant, Ellamar tries to use as much of that local produce as possible. (Click here to see featured recipe.) We asked Ellamar, the featured chef in our August eNewsletter, to share a recipe showcasing summer vegetables. And the chef – who grew up in Hilo Hawaii – served up this tuna conserva salad, in which fresh tuna is poached gently in extra virgin olive oil. It’s paired with a salad made of greens and vegetables – one that also includes potatoes and olives.
Call it Ellamar’s riff on tuna Niçoise salad.
For Ellamar, the poached tuna serves two purposes. The leftover oil is used initially to make a saffron-infused aioli. The aioli becomes a dressing. The tuna conserva is flaked and included with the salad. Additional tuna is poached gently in olive oil until rare, sliced, and also included in the salad. Our Arbequina or Everyday Fresh oils would be fine for this dish.
The salad includes a mix of veggies: haricots verts green beans, fingerling potatoes, red onion, piquillo peppers, and cherry tomatoes. Added to that are olives, radicchio, baby arugula, frisée, and chives. (Click here to see featured recipe.)
The salad is tossed with the saffron-infused aioli and a splash of champagne vinegar. The flaked tuna conserva and the sliced rare tuna are added to the salad.
Sounds like just the dish to sit down to after working on that 1964 Buick Wildcat.
Your friends at California Olive Ranch