Barbecued Big-Eye Tuna with Braised Vine Tomatoes and Black Olive Tapenade

11:05 am on 27 September 2010

Sean Armstrong’s Kitchen published by Random House

When you’re buying tuna look for bright red flesh. If it’s getting dark and grey stay away as it’s past it and will taste like an old sock! Always cook tuna rare; it has very little natural oil and if you cook it too much it will be dry and tasteless.

(Serves 4)


  • 12 vine-ripened tomatoes, still on truss (3 per serve)
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil
  • 50ml balsamic vinegar
  • 4 x 120g big-eye tuna steaks

Black olive tapenade (makes about 500ml)

  • 100g toasted pinenuts
  • 50g grated Parmesan
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • ¼ cup black olives, chopped
  • 150ml olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • small handful red chard per serve
  • house dressing (see basics)


Preheat oven to 220°C. To prepare the tomatoes, place in a roasting tray and season with the salt, black pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar and roast in the oven for 5–7 minutes or until the tomatoes are just starting to split.

To make the tapenade, place the pinenuts, Parmesan, garlic and olives on a chopping board and roughly chop together with a large knife. Place in a bowl and add the olive oil. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper and chopped parsley.

To cook the tuna, heat a barbecue grill to a very high heat. Season tuna with salt and pepper and rub with olive oil. Sear on grill bars for 1–1½ minutes on each side.

To serve, cut the truss of tomatoes with scissors and divide between 4 plates. Place a tuna steak on each plate with some dressed red chard and a good spoonful of tapenade.

Stephen Morris’s wine recommendation

Esk Valley Merlot/Malbec Rose 2010 (Hawkes Bay). Good and dry. Hint of cranberry and raspberry cane. Fine stuff.

Breaksea Sound Pinot Noir 2008 (Central Otago). Light raspberry. Delicate Pinot Noir. Lighter. Lovely florals. Juicy. Feminine. Outstanding value.

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