Marinated Broiled Tuna With Sauce Nicoise

Succulent, seared tuna is served with a sauce full of the flavors of classic Nicoise salad—ripe tomato, olives, lemon peel, garlic and onion. Serve this dish alongside a traditional salad, or with couscous or quinoa.

This recipe is adapted from Pierre Franey and The New York Times. It was originally published in the South Florida Sun Sentinel.


  • 4 (6-ounce) center-cut tuna steaks, about 1-inch thick
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme (or 2 teaspoons dried)
  • 2 crumbled bay leaves
  • 4 small sprigs fresh rosemary (or 2 teaspoons dried)
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 ripe plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup sliced fennel
  • 1/2 cup sliced red onion
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped garlic
  • 4 pitted black olives
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil or parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


Step 1: Preheat broiler or outdoor grill to high.

Step 2: Place 4 (6-ounce) center-cut tuna steaks in a dish. Season both sides with salt and pepper to taste. Brush both sides with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add 4 sprigs fresh thyme (or 2 teaspoons dried), 2 crumbled bay leaves, 4 small sprigs fresh rosemary (or 2 teaspoons dried) and 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 20 minutes.

Step 3: Boil a pan of water. Place 4 ripe plum tomatoes in the boiling water for about 9 seconds. Drain and pull away the skin. Cut and discard the core and chop the tomatoes coarsely.

Step 4: In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, place 4 tablespoons olive oil. When hot, add 1/2 cup sliced fennel, 1/2 cup sliced red onion and 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped garlic. Cook briefly until wilted. Add the tomatoes, 4 pitted black olives, 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind and 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

Step 5: Transfer the fennel mixture to a blender or food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Add 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil and blend 5 to 7 seconds, taking care that the sauce remains coarse. Transfer sauce to a saucepan, season with salt and pepper, to taste, reheat briefly. Keep warm.

Step 6: If broiling, arrange the tuna steaks on a rack and place under the broiler about 5 inches from the heat source. Broil 2 minutes with the door partly open. Turn the steaks, and, leaving the door open, continue broiling about 2 minutes longer, or to desired doneness.

Step 7: If grilling, place the steaks on a hot grill, cover and cook 2 minutes. Turn the fish, cover and cook about 2 minutes or to desired doneness.

Step 8: Serve with prepared sauce around the fish and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon basil.

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