Main Dishes

Grilled Tuna with Red Wine, Caper, and Olive Sauce

Recipe credit: The Barbecue! Bible, by Steven Raichlen (Workman Publishing, 2008)

Ingredients
For the fish

  • 4 tuna steaks (each 6 to 8 ounces and about 1 inch thick)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce (raïto)

  • About 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium-size onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small ripe tomato, peeled and seeded, then finely chopped
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme, or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup black olives, preferably tiny niçoise olives, pitted
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Prepare the fish: Brush the tuna steaks on both sides with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season them with salt and pepper to taste. Place the tuna in a baking dish, cover it, and let marinate, in the refrigerator, for 30 minutes.
  2. Make the raïto: Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the red wine, tomato paste, thyme, bay leaf, olives, and capers and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and let simmer briskly until the raïto is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the raïto from the heat and discard the thyme sprig and bay leaf. Whisk in the remaining 2½ tablespoons of olive oil and season the raïto with salt and pepper to taste; the raïto should be highly seasoned (see Note). Cover the raïto and keep it warm.
  4. Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to high.
  5. When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Arrange the tuna steaks, facing in the same direction, on the hot grill grate. Grill the tuna steaks until cooked to taste, 1 to 2 minutes per side for rare, 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium-rare, turning them carefully with a long spatula. For an attractive crosshatch of grill marks, rotate the tuna steaks 45 degrees after the first minute of grilling on each side.
  6. Transfer the steaks to serving plates or a platter and serve at once, with the raïto spooned on top. 

 

Time Level Yield
1 hour Moderate 4 servings

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