Tuna in Escabeche

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Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6

This classic Mediterranean dish pairs meaty fish with a slightly sweet, vinegary sauce and is served cold or at room temperature. Fragrant with orange zest and garlic, it is finished with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes for just a hint of heat. The dish must be refrigerated for at least 8 hours before serving, so plan accordingly.


  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lb. (750 g) albacore or yellowfin tuna fillet, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick, cut into 6 to 8 pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup (6 fl. oz./180 ml) sherry vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. grated orange zest
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g) pitted olives


In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the tuna and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides but still translucent in the center, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a 2-quart (2-l) baking dish.
Add the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil to the pan. Add the bell pepper and onion and sauté until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the wine, vinegar, garlic, peppercorns, orange zest, sugar and red pepper flakes. Season with 3/4 tsp. salt, pour in 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) water and bring to a boil.
Pour the hot liquid and vegetables over the fish and scatter the olives over the top. Let stand until cooled to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.
Lift the tuna from the marinade and transfer to a platter. Drain the marinade, reserving the vegetables and olives, and arrange them over the tuna. Let stand for about 15 minutes before serving. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma One Pot of the Day, by Kate McMillan (Weldon Owen, 2012)

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