This recipe for Oven-Baked Tuna with Savory Topping caught my eye as I was paging through Nancy Harmon Jenkins's Cucina del Sole. It's a recipe that really seems of a place--southern Italy--with its olives, capers, basil, and cherry tomatoes--instead of just another generic baked tuna dish.
- 1 fresh tuna steak, about 3/4 inch thick (about 1 pound)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon crushed dried red chili
- 6 black olives, preferably salt-cured, pitted
- 1 tablespoon capers, preferably salt·packed, rinsed and drained
- 5 or 6 large fresh basil leaves
- 16 to 20 ripe cherry tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fine dry breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Pat the tuna steak dry. Spread a little of the olive oil over the bottom of an oven dish in which the tuna will fit comfortably and set the steak in the dish. Smear a little more oil over the top of the steak and sprinkle on the salt and chili.
Chop together the black olives, capers, and basil to make a coarse, crumbly mixture. Pile this on top of the tuna and then add the chopped tomatoes. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the tomatoes and dribble the remaining oil over the top.
Transfer the dish to the preheated oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the tuna is done to taste. (In southern Italy, tuna is almost always cooked well done, but Americans may prefer it with a streak of raw in the middle.)