Sliced Tuna with Eggplant Salad and Oregano Oil
In this Italian-inspired dish, thick tuna steaks are seared over high heat, then cut into slices before serving, showcasing the beautiful bright-red flesh within. A crisp white like a Vermentino from Sardinia would be the perfect accompaniment.
- 1/2 cup (1/2 oz./15 g) lightly packed fresh oregano leaves, plus 1/2 tsp. minced oregano
- 3/4 cup (6 fl. oz./180 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 lb. (500 g) young eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) dice
- 2 tsp. red wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. minced fresh mint
- 2 large tuna steaks, each about 3/4 lb. (375 g) and 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick
- 1 garlic clove, crushed but left whole
Chop the 1/2 cup oregano coarsely and transfer to a bowl. Add 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) of the olive oil and salt to taste and mix well. Set aside.
In a large fry pan over medium heat, warm the remaining 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) olive oil. Add the eggplant and 1/2 tsp. salt and stir well. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is just tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, add the vinegar and toss to mix. Stir in the minced oregano and mint and set aside.
Brush the tuna steaks with some of the infused oregano oil and season with salt and pepper. Pour the remaining oil (about 1 Tbs.) into a large fry pan over medium-high heat and add the garlic. Cook for about 1 minute, using a spatula to press the garlic into the oil. Discard the garlic before it browns.
Arrange the tuna steaks in the pan and raise the heat to high. Sear for 2 minutes, then turn and sear on the second side for 2 minutes longer. Transfer to a cutting board and carve against the grain into slices 1/2 inch (12 mm) thick. Carefully fan the tuna slices on a serving platter and mound the eggplant next to it. Drizzle a little oregano oil over the tuna and eggplant salad (you may not use it all) and serve immediately. Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Rustic Italian, by Domenica Marchetti (Weldon Owen, 2011)