Grilled Rare Tuna Salad With Basil-Tapenade Vinaigrette Recipe

Kerry Saretsky

Another incarnation of my Salade Niçoise! It starts with a simply grilled tuna steak crusted in herbs de Provence, cooked rare, piled onto a bed of butter lettuce, and drizzled with a vinaigrette made from olive oil, fresh basil, white wine vinegar, and black olive tapenade. Fresh, light, and full of punchy, bright flavor.

Recipe Facts

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 20 mins
Serves: 2 servings

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  • 8 ounces fresh tuna steak
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoons dried herbes de Provence
  • About 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons capers in brine, rinsed and pressed dry between paper towels
  • 2 tablespoons homemade or store-bought black olive tapenade
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 to 1 small garlic clove, grated, about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon
  • 10 basil leaves, thinly sliced, plus extra for the salad
  • 1 beefsteak tomato, thinly sliced
  • 1 head Bibb lettuce, torn
  • 1 lemon, quartered


  1. Preheat a grill or grill pan over high heat for at least 10 minutes. Season the tuna liberally with salt, pepper, and herbes de Provence. Rub 1 tablespoon of olive oil all over the outside of the seasoned fish. Grill without until lightly seared and grill marks appear about 30 seconds. Flip and repeat on second side. Set aside.

  2. Heat 1-inch of oil in a small saucepan until shimmering. Carefully add the capers (they will splatter) and fry until crisp and golden, about 1 minute. Drain on paper towel. (You can also just add the capers as they are, without frying).

  3. To make the vinaigrette, whisk together 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the tapenade, vinegar, garlic, sliced basil leaves, and salt and pepper.

  4. To assemble the salad, arrange the tomatoes on the bottom of a serving dish. Scatter the lettuce on top, and then some whole basil leaves. Slice the tuna about 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick, and arrange over the lettuce and basil. Drizzle the vinaigrette all over, and crown with the capers. Serve the lemon quarters on the side.