One of the simplest yet most delicious meals I make, Balsamic Glazed Tuna with Roasted Peppers and New Potatoes involves simply roasting red peppers and new potatoes, pan frying tuna steaks and serving it all on a bed of fresh spinach, drizzled with a simple glaze made from balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
This recipe, like some of the best recipes I make, is a hand me down recipe from my parents. Several years ago my parents went on holiday to Whitby and ate something very similar to this at the Magpie Café – a wonderful fish restaurant overlooking the harbour (or so they tell me – I’ve never been, sadly). They were so excited by its delicious simplicity they recreated the dish on their return home from holiday and then made it for my husband and I when they next visited us. As it happened, their next visit coincided with the birth of our son (nearly 6 years ago!!) and so I have particularly fond memories of first eating this meal – my taste buds were very happy about munching through this delicious, fresh and healthy meal after surviving mainly on ready meals and pizza up to that point.
I’ve cooked this meal many times in the subsequent 5 ½ years. Each time I am just bowled over by how something so simple can be so tasty and so pretty. There are only 6 ingredients – no herbs, no spices and yet it just works and always leaves me wanting more.
I say this is simple, but I do know that there are some people who find cooking fresh tuna a bit daunting. I don’t think it is all that tricky, you just need a good method. So here’s my pretty much fool proof method…
How to cook tuna steaks perfectly every time
- Try to buy tuna that’s about 1½ cm thick.
- Get the tuna out of the fridge and open the packet. Drizzle the tuna steaks with olive oil and a few twists of salt and pepper and rub the olive oil all over, so the tuna is evenly coated.
- Put a non-stick griddle pan or frying pan on a high heat and heat up the dry frying pan for 1 minute. Do not put any oil in the pan.
- Put the tuna in the hot pan and cook for 1 minute on each side. Then remove from the pan immediately.
- And voila! You should have perfectly cooked tuna that is brown on the top and bottom but pink in the middle. And, if you use a griddle pan, it will have pretty char lines too.
- If you prefer tuna that is cooked all the way through (but not over cooked) cook the tuna for 1½ minutes on each side and it should be just cooked through. If in doubt, cut one open to check.
And there you have it! Easy peasy pan fried tuna steaks 🙂
Do let me know how you get on (and if it all goes wrong, let me know what you did and I’ll try and troubleshoot!).
The rest of the dish couldn’t be simpler. The red peppers and halved new potatoes are simply roasted in olive oil in a hot oven for 40 minutes and then drizzled with balsamic vinegar, which reduces slightly in the hot pan to make a gorgeous glaze. This is all then piled on top of the baby spinach leaves, which gently wilt in the heat, and topped with a tuna steak. The whole lot is then drizzled with that gorgeous balsamic glaze.
I love to have this with a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc but a Southern French Rosé or a light to medium bodied Pinot Noir would also work well here.
Balsamic Glazed Tuna with Roasted Peppers and New Potatoes
- 500 g new potatoes halved
- 4 peppers try to get a mix of yellow, red and orange if possible, cut into large pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil plus extra for the tuna
- Salt and pepper
- 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 4 tuna steaks approximately 1.5cm thick
- 200 g baby spinach
- Preheat your oven to 200C.
- Prepare the potatoes and peppers and place in a large roasting tin or oven dish. They should be in 1 layer or they will steam, not roast. Drizzle with olive oil and twist over some salt and pepper. Toss the veg in the oil and then arrange in 1 layer. If necessary use 2 tins/oven dishes rather than crowding 1 tin.
- Put the veg in the oven and roast for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes remove the tray from the oven, and stir the potatoes and peppers, spread out again and put back in the oven to roast for a further 20 minutes (this ensures everything cooks evenly and nothing sticks).
- When the potatoes and peppers have 10 minutes left to roast, remove the tuna steaks from the fridge and coat with the oil, salt and pepper.
- Put a non-stick griddle pan or frying pan on a high heat and heat up for 1 minute. Do not put any oil in the pan.
- Put the tuna in the hot pan and cook for 1 minute on each side. Then remove from the pan immediately and put on a board or a plate.
- Remove the roast veg from the oven and drizzle over 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar. Toss the veg in the balsamic vinegar.
- Divide the spinach between 4 plates. Top each stack of spinach with ¼ of the roast veg and a tuna steak. Drizzle with the juices from the roasting tin.
- Serve immediately with a glass of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc or a dry French rosé.
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