Wednesday May 08, 2013 | 05:30 AM

I’m already in high gear for summer grilling even with our recent morning temperatures hovering in the mid 30s.  By afternoon through dinnertime the weather warms up enough for perfect grilling weather. 

Tuna, swordfish and salmon are great choices for grilling.  The fillets or steaks are sturdy, without worrying about fish crumbling irretrievably down to the bottom of the grill. 

Last evening I prepared tuna.  And I offer here Tuna Two Ways.  The most basic is to season the tuna with salt and pepper and brush with olive oil.  Preheat   your grill (gas or charcoal) to high and cook several minutes per side, covered, until desired doneness.

Tuna prepared for grilling; here it's cut only 1/2 inch thick to serve with the sweet and sour relish

Serve it with a grilled eggplant, pepper and chickpea salad.  You can add some grilled fingerling potatoes on the side, but otherwise the salad is plenty.

If you want potatoes, parboil fingerlings for about 5 minutes until nearly soft.  Drain, season with salt and pepper and moisten with plenty of olive oil.  Cut in half and put on a hot grill for several minutes, turning from side to side.

This eggplant and chickpea salad is a wonderful  dish for grilled fare; it would also go well with grilled lamb or chicken

The other recipe is for basic grilled tuna served with a sweet and sour  pepper relish comprised of raisins and a touch of sugar steeped in red wine vinegar and reduced.  Grill the peppers and combine everything with capers and herbs and serve as a sauce for the fish. 

The tuna steaks served with the sweet and sour pepper relish

Basic grilled tuna

Have the fishmonger cut the steaks ½ inch thick to serve with the sweet-sour sauce or cut 1-inch thick to serve with the eggplant salad.  Season the steaks with salt and pepper and moisten withi olive oil.  On a hot grill, cook, covered,  2 to 4 minutes per side, depending on thickness.

Eggplant and chickpea salad
Serves 4

2 small eggplants, cut in half lengthwise
1 small red onion
2 peppers of different colors
Canola oil
Salt and pepper
15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chick peas), drained and rinsed and drained again
½ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
About ¼ cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Handful of chopped fresh mint

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced

If the eggplants are large cut each half twice so you have slices that are about 1 inch thick. Brush with canola oil and brush the peppers too.  Put onto a hot grill.  The eggplant will only take about  3 minutes per side.  Turn the peppers from side to side until totally charred, about 10 minutes.  Remove from the grill. 

Cut the eggplant into half-inch pieces and put into a bowl.  Put the peppers into another bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 10 minutes.  Remove, peeling off skin and removing the seeds and core.  Cut into thin slices. 

Combine the eggplant, peppers, garbanzo beans, olive oil, chopped olives lemon, mint and cilantro, mixing well.  Serve with the tuna.

Sweet and sour pepper relish for tuna
Serves 2, double for more servings

½ cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons golden raisins
1 large pepper, color of your choice grilled, peeled, seeded and sliced thin
Or 2 small peppers of different colors, prepared in the same way
1 tablespoon capers, drained
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Chopped parsley,
Salt and pepper

Put the vinegar, sugar and raisins into a small saucepan over high heat and reduce by half.  Set aside.

Prepare the peppers as described in the eggplant recipe.  Cut into strips. 

Combine the remaining ingredients in a medium size bowl and let sit about 30 minutes.  Serve over the grilled tuna.  

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John Golden has written about food, dining and lifestyle subjects for Downeast magazine, the Boston Globe, Cottages and Gardens magazine, Gourmet magazine, Cuisine magazine, the New York Times and the New York Post.

In his highly opinionated blog, John reports on his experiences dining out all over Maine and his visits with food personalities, farmers and farmers’ markets throughout the state.

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