Anyone Can Cook

IF YOU’VE VISITED San Anselmo recently, you may have noticed Ross Valley Kitchen, the family friendly eatery that opened its doors earlier this year. Helmed by chef Christopher Douglas, the restaurant features dishes that highlight local ingredients. Douglas’ grandparents can be credited with inspiring a lifelong love of cooking. The two grew herbs and produce — which Douglas’ grandmother often would preserve for winter use — and the fish and game that kept his grandfather busy always ended up on a dinner plate. Douglas began his career garnishing plates in his hometown of Aspen, but soon found himself back in Marin (he attended San Rafael High for two years), where he worked at esteemed Bay Area eateries like LuLu before opening a string of restaurants with chef Reed Hearon: Rose Pistola, Black Cat and Rose’s Cafe. After a few years at Foreign Cinema and one more restaurant opening (Kitchen in Novato), Douglas says Ross Valley Kitchen is a culmination of all his culinary learning, a process he believes should remain ongoing for all chefs. “I like to look at a recipe as a guideline, especially for savory dishes,” Douglas adds. “I encourage friends to substitute ingredients that inspire them (or that they have better access to) and to try different cooking techniques.” If you’re in the mood to experiment, put your personal stamp on Douglas’ seared tuna — or just listen to the expert.

Seared Rare Yellowfin Tuna

Serves 4


  • ¼ cup cumin seed
  • ¼ cup fennel seed
  • ¼ cup whole coriander seed
  • 1 medium-size shallot, diced
  • 1 ounce red wine vinegar
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs
  • ¼ tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ bunch chives, chopped
  • ½ bunch tarragon, chopped
  • ¼ cup capers, drained and chopped
  • ¼ cup cornichons, drained and chopped
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 fingerling potatoes
  • 1 handful yellow wax beans
  • 4 Early Girl tomatoes
  • 2 pounds yellowfin tuna
  • Italian parsley for garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To Prepare: For spice mix

  1. Heat a small skillet over high heat.
  2. Add cumin seed, fennel seed and whole coriander seed.
  3. Shake pan and toast seeds for about one minute.
  4. After allowing seeds to cool, combine in spice blender.
  5. Pour mix in bowl and set aside.

To Prepare: For sauce gribiche

  1. Place shallots in shallow bowl; cover with vinegar and a pinch of salt. 
  2. Let set for 10 minutes.
  3. Slice hard-boiled eggs in half, reserving all whites and two whole yolks.
  4. Roughly chop egg whites.
  5. In a small bowl, combine shallots, mustard, herbs, capers, cornichons and yolks and mix well.
  6. Add olive oil and egg whites to sauce. 
  7. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. 
  8. Store at room temperature.

To Prepare: For potato, yellow beans and tomato

  1. Preheat oven to 500°F with baking sheet inside.
  2. Drizzle skinned potatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Place potatoes on pan and reduce heat to 425°F; roast for about 20 minutes.
  4. Slice horizontally into coins.
  5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add beans and blanch until tender, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Place beans in ice bath to stop cooking.
  7. Score skin of all four tomatoes.
  8. Repeat blanching process with tomatoes, this time cooking for 30 seconds.
  9. Submerge in ice bath, then remove and peel skin from tomatoes and cut into quarters.

To Prepare: For tuna

  1. Heat sauté pan on medium high. 
  2. Butcher tuna into logs, season with salt, and roll in spice mixture until well coated.
  3. Lightly sear, turning occasionally, until evenly rare. 
  4. Slice into coins.


  1. Arrange tomatoes, potatoes and beans on plate as desired. 
  2. Lay three or four slices of tuna on top of mixture.
  3. Drizzle with sauce gribiche and garnish with parsley.