Dinner Tonight: Basil-Infused Tuna With Soy Vinaigrette Recipe

Dinner Tonight

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Dinner Tonight: Basil-Infused Tuna With Soy Vinaigrette Recipe

I’ve been flipping through Melanie Dunea’s My Last Supper, since the fiancée got it for me on Christmas. It’s a big, beautiful book with an embarrassment of world-famous chefs detailing their last meal. It’s great reading and has some surprisingly stirring vignettes about family and lots of pictures (including a rather scandalous portrait of Anthony Bourdain with one very large bone covering his, well, little Tony). What’s most surprising about the meals is how simple they are. Faced with death, most people shied away from the grand and went to the basic. And, lucky for me, the fairly simple recipes are the in the back of the book, so I can indulge in a little end-of-times eating on a regular weeknight.

It feels a little sad to want to try the recipe from someone’s (theoretical) deathbed, but I finally settled on Guillaume Brahimi, chef at Guillaume at Bennelong in Sydney, Australia. His steamed tuna wrapped in basil sounded like a nice light meal. Most of the tuna I prepare has been sauteed over exceedingly high heat for just a little bit. This method uses a far more gentle heating source (steam) and yet cooks it for just about the same time, leaving the fish just one step from raw. It’s gorgeous. The basil seeps into the flesh and the sauce perfectly plays off it. Not a bad way to go.


  • 1/2 pound sashimi-quality tuna
  • 1/2 bunch basil
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Salt and pepper


  1. 1.

    Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Quickly blanch the basil in the pot and then plunge into ice cold water. Drain the basil and then dry on paper towels.

  2. 2.

    Cut the tuna in half. Season with salt and pepper. Wrap the basil leaves around the tuna.

  3. 3.

    Steam the tuna for just 45 seconds. It will turn light grey on the outside and remain nice and red inside.

  4. 4.

    Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette. Whisk together the olive oil, soy sauce, mustard seeds, and lime juice. Brush the sauce on the tuna.