Brain Food

July 24, 2008

I’m down to five full study days left before the bar exam, folks. As the X in “T minus X days” continues to shrink, I am pulling out all the stops. And I don’t just mean studying night and day (but there’s that too). For instance, I’ve started searching for good omens everywhere—a lucky penny! I’m going to pass the bar!—and even lodging wishes every time the clock hits 11:11, 2:22, etc. (a habit I took quite seriously during high school, even though the success rate was desperately low). I haven’t gone so far as carrying a rabbit’s foot (because, um, ick) or hunting for four-leaf clovers, but I haven’t ruled either option out.

And then there’s the food. That’s right: I’ve even managed to find a way to make our meals a part of my bar preparation. For one thing, I’ve definitely been eating energy-rich meals and snacks. And, though I didn’t realize it last week when we made the dinner you see pictured here, I think it too did its part. It’s fish, after all, and haven’t you heard? Fish is good for brain power! In other words, I ate grilled tuna two weeks before the bar. Ergo, I’m going to pass the bar!

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

Okay, so maybe the fish alone won’t do it. I’m a little dubious about the truth of the brain power claim. But that doesn’t mean I’m not willing to give it a try. In fact, I foresee a seafood-laden weekend ahead. To hedge my bets, though, I’ll be supplementing the omega-3 helpings with a steady diet of delicious flashcards.

Even if this tuna has no special bar-exam-passing powers, I still recommend it. It’s super fast and fresh and light and requires no indoor heat whatsoever (unless you’re using a grill pan, which would work well too). In other words, it’s late-July-appropriate. The original recipe called for kebabs, but I couldn’t bear to hack up the gorgeous tuna steak. So we took the peppers and onions that we were supposed to thread onto skewers with the tuna and tossed them in sesame oil, grilled them and scattered some toasted sesame seeds on top. Meanwhile, the tuna took on the bright, bold flavors of its marinade, which kept things interesting without masking the flavor of an excellent piece of fish. Really, I feel smarter just writing about this. Now, back to studying ….

Ginger-Chile Grilled Tuna Steak
Adapted from Bon Appetit

3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon red chile flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds 1 1/4 -inch-thick ahi tuna
cilantro & lime wedges, for garnish

Whisk first 8 ingredients in medium bowl to blend; season to taste with ground white pepper. Transfer 3 tablespoons marinade to small bowl and reserve. Add tuna to remaining marinade in medium bowl and toss to coat. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 45 minutes.

Prepare a grill.

Grill the tuna to desired doneness, about 4 minutes for medium-rare, turning once. Transfer to platter. Drizzle reserved marinade over; sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

9 Responses to “Brain Food”

  1. rachel Says:

    This looks lovely! I love tuna and the flavors sound wonderful.

  2. eggsonsunday Says:

    Your logic seems completely sound to me; I don’t really think it’s at all possible to *not* pass the bar after eating this (plus those good luck pennies!) πŸ™‚ Looks so delicious! -Amy

  3. Emily Says:

    This looks amazing, but I have a hunch that this brain food is superfluous. You are going to dominate that test!! Sending good your-almost-there study thoughts in your direction!

  4. Kristin Says:

    This looks delicious! My husband really likes tuna, but I haven’t really developed a liking yet. This recipe could do it for me! Thanks!

  5. Beautiful piece of fish! Good luck on the bar exam.

  6. Aggie Says:

    What great photos of a delicious meal! Good luck to you on your exam!!

  7. Dragon Says:

    You’d be real dumb not to enjoy this dish. πŸ™‚ Yum!

  8. Rachel: Thanks. It was a keeper.

    Amy: Oh, thank you. That is reassuring.

    Emily: Thanks! I’ll miss you guys on Saturday. We all need to get together again soon.

    Kristin: If you like the flavors in the marinade, this could be the ticket. Hope you try it!

    js: Thank you!

    Aggie: Thanks!

    Dragon: Ha!

  9. Barbara Says:

    Costco has incredible frozen Ahi Tuna for a decent price.

    After watching Alton Brown’s Good Eats show regarding fish, I now buy all my fish frozen.

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