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Dinner in 20 Minutes

Wednesday, August 11, 2004; Page F03

Tuna With Artichoke and Lemon Relish

4 servings

Though this quick, made-from-scratch condiment can be served warm or at room temperature, it's most refreshing chilled.

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Serve alongside rice or new potatoes.

14-ounce can or jar artichoke hearts, preferably packed in water

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional as necessary

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

Zest and juice from 1 lemon

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 tuna steaks, about 6 ounces each

Lemon wedges for serving

Drain the artichokes and rinse them under cool running water. Quarter them and pat them dry.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and the garlic, shaking the skillet occasionally, just until the garlic softens, becomes fragrant and begins to turn golden at the edges, about 2 minutes. Add the artichokes and lemon zest to taste. Using the back of a fork, mash the mixture slightly to combine. Season generously with salt and pepper and mash again. Taste and, if desired, add additional seasonings, oil and/or lemon juice to taste. May serve warm, at room temperature or cold. (To chill in a hurry, transfer to a plate and place in the freezer while you cook the tuna; if you're working ahead of time, refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.)

Preheat the grill, broiler or a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat with about 1 tablespoon of oil.

Pat the tuna dry. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cook, without turning, for 3 to 4 minutes. Turn and cook to the desired degree of doneness, turning once, until cooked to the desired degree of doneness, about 1 more minute for medium-rare. Transfer to a cutting board; set aside to cool slightly.

Cut the tuna into thin slices and fan them on individual plates. Place relish alongside the tuna and serve with lemon wedges.

Per serving: 286 calories, 42 gm protein, 7 gm carbohydrates, 8 gm fat, 77 mg cholesterol, 1 gm saturated fat, 416 mg sodium, trace dietary fiber

-- Renee Schettler

© 2004 The Washington Post Company