Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tuna with Tomato-Basil Sauce

This is based on a Tuscan recipe called "Tonno alla Livornese". Like wild salmon, albacore tuna is a protein source that comes with the "good" kind of fat. This makes it a great alternative for the sake of culinary variety. But it is the tomatoes that are my favorite part. A tasty way to get in that recommended daily serving. I typically serve this on a bed of whole wheat angel hair pasta that has been tossed with olive oil and fresh parsley.

Note, this chunky tomato sauce goes very well on pan-seared or grilled/broiled chicken breast cutlets. So often I'll double it and freeze the other half to make with chicken the following week.

I do recommend using 1 1/2 pounds of fresh plum tomatoes that have been peeled and chopped but only if they are in season. Otherwise, stick to a good quality canned version as those were in season at the time of canning. Whatever you do, don't be tempted to skip the fresh basil, that is the secret.

Serves 4.


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 cup of sliced mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 28 oz can of chopped tomatoes*
1 bay leaf
1 cup fresh basil, torn into bite-size pieces

Four 4-6-ounce tuna steaks (each about 1 inch thick)

Fresh basil sprigs to garnish.


Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery, parsley and garlic. Sauté until onion is tender but not brown, about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms, tomatoes and bay leaf. Cover and cook until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm before continuing.) Discard bay leaf. Mix in torn basil. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle tuna with salt and pepper. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in another heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tuna and cook until golden and just opaque in center, about 3 minutes per side.

Transfer tuna to platter. Spoon sauce over tuna. Garnish with basil sprigs.

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