Last week I found a decent looking, big piece of tuna on sale at my local supermarket (Lowes Foods). Jim’s not into the usual ahi preparation – seared on the outside, raw in the middle – so I had to come up with something different. I couldn’t find a recipe that fit my mood so I combined a bunch of flavors and came up with my own recipe.
I had a bunch of leftover black garlic roasted potatoes – that was my start. Scanning the frig, I saw fennel, red bell pepper, herbs and lemon. I started writing down ingredients and then put them into cooking order. The resulting dish was full of flavor. Real comfort food.
Why Sicilian tuna? Because tuna, fennel, peppers, capers and lemon conjure up an image of lunch alongside a rocky Sicilian shore.
If you don’t happen to have roasted potatoes lying around, you could take time to make some or use white beans instead. The rest of the dish takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.
Sicilian Tuna and Potatoes
You’ll need a large sauté pan.
- Olive oil
- Large piece of tuna
- Medium onion or leek, sliced
- Fennel, green stems removed, trimmed, sliced
- Red, orange or yellow bell pepper, sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
- 3 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
- 3/4 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- Roasted potato cubes or wedges
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- Lemon juice, to taste
- Salt and ground black pepper
- Optional: 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
- Garnish: chopped fresh parsley and basil
Heat oil. Sauté tuna on both sides until it’s cooked to your liking. Remove to a plate.
Add more oil if needed. Sauté onion, fennel and red bell pepper until softened. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, ground fennel and capers, stirring frequently, until fragrant and sizzling but not browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until softened.
Add wine, bring to simmer and cook about 1 minute. Stir in tuna, potatoes, parsley, basil, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper and cook a few minutes. Turn off heat. Stir in butter if you’re using it. Taste for salt and pepper and add more, if needed. You could also sprinkle it with a little more parsley and basil.