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Chef recipe: A healthful tuna with couscous, at Bambara

Published July 9, 2013 7:05 pm

The chef's recipe • Nathan Powers shares the light dish, which is part of restaurant's "Wellness" menu.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Chef • Nathan Powers, executive chef, Bambara

We want to energize our guests, and the grilled Hawaiian tuna with green olive and cherry tomato couscous is a super healthful way to recharge their batteries.

With summer here, people are more active and don't want to be weighed down with heavy food.

Most of the ingredients can come directly from the farmers markets or your own garden.

This is the healthiest dish on our menu. A lot of our regular guests eat it all the time.

It's also part our new "Wellness" banquet menus with multiple options offering refreshing enhancements to fuel the body, mind and spirit.

It's great for keeping guests focused, energized and productive when they need it the most.

Bambara • 202 S. Main St. Salt Lake City; 801-363-5454 —

Calling all chefs

I The Salt Lake Tribune has launched a new column that will highlight recipes from local chefs. If you know a chef whose work should be featured, have him or her contact food writer Heather May at hmay@sltrib.com. —

Grilled Hawaiian Tuna with Green Olive and Cherry Tomato Couscous, Lavender, Basil and Cucumber Tzatziki


2 cups couscous

2 cups water

4 large sprigs basil (2 whole on the stem and 2 sliced in fine ribbons)

1 teaspoon salt

1 pint mixed heirloom cheery tomatoes, cut in half

2 ounces extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup green castelvetrano olives, pitted and sliced

Black pepper to taste


5 medium cucumbers, medium dice

5 cloves garlic, chopped or shaved

1 jalapeƱo, finely diced

1 red Fresno chile, seeded and sliced julienne

1 shallot, sliced julienne

3 limes, juiced, and zest

1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt

1/2 bunch each of chopped mint, cilantro and chives

Salt and black pepper to taste


4 (6-ounce) cube-shaped portions of premium Albacore, Ahi or Bigeye tuna

1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers, toasted and ground

1/2 bunch chopped Italian parsley

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

Cracked black pepper

Prepare the couscous by rubbing the dry grains through your fingers with a little of the olive oil and the salt. Bring the water to a boil and drop in the 2 whole sprigs of basil and steep for two minutes. Pour this infusion over the couscous according to the box instructions and cover and let sit in a warm place until the water is absorbed (about 10 minutes). Fluff with a fork and hold warm.

Prepare tzatziki by squeezing the lime over the cut shallots in a mixing bowl and allow to pickle for about 10 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. When finished slicing and dicing, mix all remaining ingredients together with the shallots and keep cool.

For the tuna, prepare a charcoal fire or gas grill if necessary. Brush the fish with the olive oil sparingly and lightly crust the fish with the lavender and parsley. Season with the kosher salt and black pepper to taste. Sear over the hottest part of the grill quickly on each side for about 1 minute.

To serve, put the cherry tomatoes, olives, basil ribbons and olive oil in a mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the warm couscous and mix together and arrange in the middle of four warm plates. Slice the hot, grilled fish with a sharp knife in about 3-4 slices each portion and place atop the couscous mixture. Spoon the chilled tzatziki over the top of the fish. Garnish with a little more basil and drizzle a little fine olive oil around the plate.

Serves • 4

Source: Nathan Powers, Bambara






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