Recipes Main Courses Seafood Grilled Tuna with Basil-Walnut Sauce

Grilled Tuna with Basil-Walnut Sauce

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Servings: 2

This thick sauce shows off summer basil at its best and is the perfect accent for the gentle flavor of albacore tuna. Grill olive oil-rubbed bread along with the fish, and serve briefly sautéed zucchini ribbons on the side.


  • 2 albacore tuna steaks, each about 6 oz. and 1 inch thick
  • Kosher salt, to taste, plus 1/8 tsp.
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Extra-virgin olive oil as needed, plus 1 1/2 Tbs.
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 Tbs. walnut pieces


Place the tuna on a plate. Season on both sides with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with the lemon zest. Brush with olive oil. Let marinate while preparing the sauce.

In a food processor, combine the basil, walnuts, the 1/8 tsp. salt and a generous amount of pepper. Process until finely ground. With the machine running, gradually add the 1 1/2 Tbs. olive oil. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.

Prepare a hot fire in a grill.

Place the tuna on the grill, cover the grill and cook, turning once, for about 3 minutes per side for rare, or until done to your liking. Transfer the tuna to 2 warmed individual plates. Top with the basil sauce and serve immediately. Serves 2.

Quick Tips: The sauce takes just a moment to prepare—simply puree the herb leaves, oil and nuts in a food processor. If the sauce seems too thick, you can thin it with additional oil. It is also great on any fish or chicken, or mixed into potato salad, and is easy to double.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Weeknight Fresh & Fast, by Kristine Kidd (Williams-Sonoma, 2011).