Pan-Seared Tuna Steaks with Capers and Oregano

In early summer, as tuna migrate past Sicily, fishermen harvest them in a centuries-old ritual called the mattanza. After buying tuna in the Sicilian town of Messina, Jacques Pépin prepared seared steaks with a red-wine sauce, oregano and briny capers.

Slideshow: More Tuna Recipes

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • 1/4 cup capers, drained
  • 2 tablespoons chopped oregano
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Four 6-ounce, 3/4-inch-thick tuna steaks
  • 4 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces
  • 4 cups packed baby arugula

How to make this recipe

  1. In a bowl, mix the capers with the oregano, shallot and 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

  2. In a skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil until shimmering. Season the steaks with salt and pepper; add to the skillet and cook over high heat, turning once, until browned and medium-rare, about 4 minutes. Transfer the steaks to a platter.

  3. Add the anchovies to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, mashing with a fork until dissolved, about 1 minute. Add the wine and boil until reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and swirl in the butter, 1 piece at a time, until blended and smooth. Season the red wine sauce with salt and pepper.

  4. In a medium bowl, drizzle the arugula with olive oil and season with salt. Mound the arugula alongside the tuna. Pour the red wine sauce around the tuna steaks, top them with the caper mixture and serve.

Suggested Pairing

Like most rich fish served with a red wine sauce, Pépin's tuna steaks pair well with a light red wine (tannic reds can make the fish taste metallic or fishy). Sicily produces a number of affordable options.

Contributed By Published May 2008

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