A simple sear with a quick pesto designed specifically for tuna makes for an easy dinner.

Serves 2 to 3

  • 1/3 cup shelled pistachio nuts
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 7 tablespoons olive oil, separated
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 1-pound tuna steak, cut into 2 pieces
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 lemon, cut into wedges

1. To make the pesto, in a food processor add the pistachios, basil, capers, garlic, 6 tablespoons olive oil, and 2 pinches of salt. Pulse until nearly smooth, yet still with a bit of texture, adding a bit more olive oil if necessary. Add salt to taste. Just before serving, mix in lemon juice to taste.

2. To prepare the tuna, mix the lemon zest, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt on a plate. Press into the tuna steaks on both sides. Heat a heavy sauté pan, such as cast iron, over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and sear the tuna on one side for about 3 or 4 minutes, or until a 1/4-inch thick crust forms. Turn the tuna and sear on the other side, another 2 to 4 minutes.

3. Serve immediately with a dollop of pesto atop the fish and a wedge of lemon as a garnish.

This recipe was originally published with the article, Appreciating Tuna.