Using real tuna makes a huge difference to this dish. This salad is perfect for a tasty and filling lunch option, and healthy too!
- 2 x 5cm thick fresh tuna steaks or sashimi loin
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large aubergine, chopped into uniform 1 cm cubes
- 4tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 red pepper, finely chopped
- 1 yellow pepper, finely chopped
- 250g cherry tomatoes
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1tsp caster sugar
- 1tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 150g kalamata olives stoned
- 30g capers in vinegar plus few extra for serving
- handful basil leaves, shredded
- a small bag of rocket
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a frying pan until really hot. Season the tuna steaks with salt and pepper then sear them all over for 20 seconds on each side until the meat is fairly dark on the outside and really rare in the middle. Remove and leave to rest for one hour in the freezer until it firms up and is almost frozen (a restaurant trick that will make it easier to slice). Technically you need to let things cool before popping them into the fridge or freezer but as this meat has simply been seared it should not be too warm. Use your own instincts though – if you think it need to cool a little before freezing then feel free to do so.
Heat half the oil in a large sauté pan. Add the aubergine, then cook for 8-10 mins until brown and soft. Tip into a colander over a bowl. Fry the onions and peppers for 6-8 minutes until starting to soften.
Tip any oil from the bowl back into the pan and top it up with a splash of fresh oil. Fry the tomatoes and the crushed garlic together. Sprinkle the sugar over, splash in the vinegar, then cook for 3-4 minutes until the tomatoes start to release their juice.
Tip the aubergine, onion and peppers back in. Scatter in the olives, capers and basil, then give everything a good stir. Cook for 5 mins until simmering, then season to taste. Turn off the heat, drizzle in the rest of the oil, then set aside to cool for this salad.
Dress the rocket leaves in the lemon juice, olive oil and seasoning.
To serve slice the tuna really thinly and lay out onto a plate. Top with some cold Caponata salad and some dressed rocket leaves and maybe scatter over a few more capers.
Top tip for making Gizzi Erskine’s tuna and caponata salad
Caponata is like pickled Mediterranean vegetables, making it very similar to a chutney