Sicilian Tuna with Warm Tomato-Caper Salsa

If you don’t yet have a husband, be grateful you don’t have to deal with this one thing: a husband messing up your meal plan. Inevitably, it will happen. After hours of pouring through blogs and magazines, and asking that useless darling husband for suggestions (hint: you won’t get any), you finally have your whole week’s schedule all written up, the necessary grocery purchases listed in Excel and sorted by store (is that just me?), list printed and ready to go.

And then honey will say, “Babe, did you want to use that bunch of Swiss chard left in the fridge?”

At least he calls me babe.

It almost makes up for all the times he leaves rotten produce in the vegetable drawer. You see, he’s the one that should be keeping the mental inventory of what’s in there and getting rid of things that need to go. I justify this by the fact he makes lunch everyday and puts the groceries away, so he spends more quality time with the vegetable drawer overall. Never mind the fact that I cook dinner every night and adore my veggies, to bring up those factors is just nonsense.

Considering the number of times he’s been surprised when I’ve reached in there and pulled out something slimy and brown, I could hardly believe he remembered the Swiss chard – still fresh and usable, if only for one night. The problem was, it would have been completely out of place with anything I had planned.

Back to the drawing board, and good ol’ Epicurious, and a freezer full of frozen fish we can never seem to get through. Because we’re a household of a whopping TWO people and insist on having memberships at two different wholesale clubs. See, it does come in handy. Because I found this tuna recipe that excited and confused me all at the same time because it was cooked through and all Italian-like instead of Asian. Not that tuna always always has to be rare and doused in wasabi and soy sauce, but I’ve never had a problem with that. Anyway, there were capers, and tomatoes, and basil, and anchovies. Fish marinated in more salty little fish? I figured my man would be beyond thrilled about that. Yet when I showed him the recipe, he sort of wrinkled his nose. I think he was stuck on Asian-style tuna too. Either that or he spent too much time in the produce drawer.

Whatever. I went ahead with the recipe, a little doubtful myself about cooking it beyond rare. But there’s one ingredient I haven’t mentioned yet, which is the secret to why this absolutely works: lemon. The lemon juice in the marinade tenderizes the fish, so that each cooked-through bite is unexpectedly soft and not the least bit tough. Combined with the warm tomato sauce with fresh basil and capers (which I debated about leaving fresh, but ultimately decided to go with the recipe’s intention)this Sicilian-style tuna was a delicious change of pace from most of our usual fish recipes. The preparation would work really well with swordfish too, adjusting the cooking time as needed.

And, it went really well with the Swiss chard too. Maybe I’ll make a habit of leaving some in there just to see what else we can come up with.

Sicilian Tuna with Warm Tomato-Caper Salsa
Adapted from Gourmet, October 2009
Printable Recipe

For tuna:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 wild-caught tuna steaks, 6 oz each

For sauce:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup diced fresh tomato
1 tablespoon drained capers, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste

For the tuna, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, minced anchovies, and oregano. Place the tuna in a resealable bag and and pour in the marinade mixture. Turn to coat, and seal the bag, pressing out as much air as you can. Marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature, or longer in the refrigerator.

To make the sauce, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced tomato and capers, and simmer for about five minutes. Stir in the capers, basil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, heat lightly oil (or spritz with cooking spray) a large stainless skillet and place over high heat. Remove the fish from the bag, and shaking off excess marinade, and sear for about 2 minutes per side, until just barely opaque in the center. (Alternatively, grill the fish over high heat.)

Plate the fish and top with the warm sauce.

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 2
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 315.8
Total Fat: 12.6 g
Cholesterol: 93.5 mg
Sodium: 338.9 mg
Total Carbs: 10.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.9 g
Protein: 39.4 g

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16 Responses to “Sicilian Tuna with Warm Tomato-Caper Salsa”

  1. 1

    Molly — April 25, 2011 @ 12:58 pm Reply

    This sounds wonderful, like a tuna puttanesca. I'm bookmarking this one, for sure.

  2. 2

    Jennifurla — April 25, 2011 @ 2:31 pm Reply

    that is such a gorgeous meal! My husband sabotages me by getting takeout…I find takeout hard to resist.

  3. 3

    janet — April 25, 2011 @ 3:27 pm Reply

    I totally plan out my entire week of meals, too, but mainly based on sales at different stores. I usually only pick one store to go to, though… and its those impulse buys I typically dread the following… yes, I picked up a pineapple for $2, but what to do with it? It pushes me in new directions, right? right? ;)But Swiss chard, Cara, is my new darling. Keep at it. Love chard wraps and throwing it into soups. :)Love your recipe here, Cara. Tomato-caper salsa, yum!

  4. 4

    Joanne — April 25, 2011 @ 4:37 pm Reply

    I find that I trust any recipe with capers in it. Because no matter what…the capers will make me so happy that I'll love the finished product. True story.The tuna looks delicious though and it makes me super glad that you had that swiss chard to use up – my favorite green!

  5. 5

    Kaytorade — April 25, 2011 @ 4:38 pm Reply

    I have less issues with my husband messing up my dinner meal plans, he's a lunch meal plan ruiner.

  6. 6

    Alicia Fidalgo — April 25, 2011 @ 5:35 pm Reply

    Yum, sounds delicious. And your presentation is gorgeous.

  7. 7

    Megan — April 25, 2011 @ 6:27 pm Reply

    I don't love Swiss chard, but the rest of this recipe sounds wonderful. I even think I've made something similar in the past with swordfish.

  8. 8

    Chrysta — April 25, 2011 @ 8:39 pm Reply

    This reminds me of such a fabulous light summery dish. i absolutely love fresh basil in just about anything. Looks amazing girl!

  9. 9

    Marla Meridith — April 26, 2011 @ 3:02 am Reply

    Cara, you are such an elegant cook. This tuna looks well thought out, healthy and full of flavor. Your hubs is one lucky guy!

  10. 10

    megi — April 26, 2011 @ 10:56 am Reply

    What a colourful dish, looks mouth watering! I love swiss chard with fish, I usually wrap it around a lightly poached piece of fish before cooking. Thank you for sharing this recipe, I'll try it soon!

  11. 11

    Traveleatlove — April 26, 2011 @ 12:35 pm Reply

    Is it wrong that I want to eat this at 8:30 in the morning?! Looks like such a satisfying meal!

  12. 12

    Cara — April 26, 2011 @ 12:51 pm Reply

    I won't judge!

  13. 13

    tea-bag — April 26, 2011 @ 3:53 pm Reply

    oh that looks so good! i love tuna! i might just barely cook mine so it's still nice and pink on the inside – and i do believe i have swiss chard! :)

  14. 14

    Dawn Hutchins — April 26, 2011 @ 4:01 pm Reply

    I struggle with meal planning around my hubbs too! And I keep my grocery list on my iphone with an app that I LOVE. My phone is always on hand so I never have to write anything down. Anyway…this looks FABULOUS. Tuna is my fav.

  15. 15

    Kerstin — April 29, 2011 @ 2:10 am Reply

    Haha, Apolinaras is the same way! He will remind me 100x about what produce he thinks I need to use up. This looks so tasty :)

  16. 16

    Mara — May 1, 2011 @ 6:56 pm Reply

    This sounds absolutely incredible, and your photos throughout the post are GORGEOUS!!!

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