Seared Tuna with Tapenade
 Recipe created by Suzanne Goin
Servings: Serves 6
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 pound tuna steak , 1 inch thick
  • 1 teaspoon fleur de sel or kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup black olives (niçoise and Nyons), pitted and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 teaspoons capers , coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 clove garlic , pressed with a garlic press
  • 1/2 anchovy fillet , mashed
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • Pinch freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Davidson's pasteurized egg
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic , crushed through a press
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
  • 3/4 pound Yukon Gold potatoes , peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 scallion , sliced on the bias
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bunch watercress , tops picked and stems removed
In a small skillet, toast coriander and fennel seeds over medium heat until fragrant, 3 minutes. Cool. Process in a spice grinder until finely ground. Combine spices with cracked pepper; rub over all sides of tuna. Cover tuna with plastic wrap, and marinate in the refrigerator 4 hours or overnight.

In a medium bowl, combine olives, olive oil, parsley, capers, garlic, anchovy, lemon zest, and pepper. Set aside.

In a blender, combine 1/4 cup olive oil, egg, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and red pepper. Blend until combined. Remove center of cover (or entire cover) and, at low speed, slowly pour remaining 3/4 cup olive oil into mixture in a steady stream; continue blending until thick. (Makes about 1 cup.)

Arrange potatoes in a steamer basket set over 1 inch simmering water. Cover and steam until tender, 15 minutes. Cool, then coarsely chop. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, 1/4 cup aioli, scallion, lemon juice, and salt. Reserve remaining aioli.

Sprinkle both sides of tuna with fleur de sel, and drizzle with olive oil. Heat a cast-iron pan or heavy skillet until very hot. Add tuna, and cook until pink in center, about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare, or until desired doneness. Set aside to cool. With a sharp knife, cut tuna into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

Scatter watercress over a large platter. Place potato salad over watercress and arrange pieces of tuna on top. Spoon tapenade over fish and around potatoes.

Recommended ingredients: Ground coriander and fennel may be substituted for whole seeds. Davidson's pasteurized eggs are available online at Fleur de sel is available online at or at specialty food markets.