Monday, November 28, 2005

Seared Tuna with Salsa Verde, Sauteed Spinach and Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Seared tuna is something of a luxury for me. It is quite expensive compared to other fish, but remains a firm favourite of mine. I'm always very anxious not to over cook it; a wrong move can mean you end up with nothing more than a slab of fish that may as well be flaked, brined and canned. Get the timing right though and you end up with what is - to my mind - one of the tastiest and best looking foods to grace your plate in a while.

The Salsa Verde is a perfect accompaniment; clean and fresh like a salad dressing, not too overpowering. I realise this sauce or dressing varies and mine is no exception to that rule. I tend to not use anchovies since many people don't like them. I however love the salty little things and could eat them almost everyday.
I am a big advocate of simplicity and so I like to have things like garlic mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach on the side. There's something very pleasing about the contrasts of colour in the finished dish; the greenery with the white of the potato, the deep red streak through the middle of the tuna. Above all else though, it needs to taste good and this does.

What You Need:

2 x Tuna Steaks (about 6oz each is good)
Olive Oil

Salt & Black Pepper

For The Salsa Verde:

Large Bunch Fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley
Juice and Zest of 1 Large Lemon

2 tsp Capers

Good Lug Olive Oil

Salt & Black

For The Garlic Mashed Potatoes:

Use my recipe for mashed potatoes, only add 3 cloves peeled garlic to boil with the pots, mashing in the same way at the end of boiling time.

For The Sautéed Spinach:

Large Bunch Spinach (about 125g)
Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic (finely sliced)
Salt & Bla
ck Pepper


  • Place the spinach in a large pan of boiling water, cook until wilted for around 5 mins. Drain and remove excess water with kitchen paper, set to one side.
  • Whisk to combine all ingredients for the salsa Verde, seasoning to taste with salt and black pepper.
  • Rub the tuna steaks in a little olive oil, salt and cracked black pepper, set to one side.
  • Make the mashed potatoes according to my recipe, and according to my notes above. Cover and set to one side.
  • Sautee the spinach over a med/high heat in olive oil, with the sliced garlic. Sautee until the water evaporates from the spinach, being careful not to burn the garlic. Cover the pan and take off the heat.
  • Heat a dry pan to med/high, place the tuna steaks in and sear on both sides for around 1- 1 ½ mins each side. You need to use your judgment here; it will vary according to the thickness of the steaks and the type of pan you use. If you watch the side edges of the tuna, you will notice the change in colour rising upwards. You need to try and leave a good pinky/red line along the centre. Also it is worth remembering that the fish will continue to cook when removed from the heat – less is more in other words.
  • Place the tuna on your plate. Briefly re-whisk the salsa and spoon over the steak. Serve the mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach on the side.


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