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Tuna steak with caponata

  • 45 minutes
  • Medium
  • Second Courses
For this recipe, we suggest pairing tuna with caponata, a Sicilian vegetable side dish. This dish truly captures the flavors of the Mediterranean.

Ingredients: Per 4 servings

  • 1 lb tuna
  • 3 ½ oz onion
  • 3 ½ oz eggplant
  • 3 ½ oz zucchini
  • 3 ½ oz red pepper
  • 1 oz raisins
  • 1 oz pine nuts
  • 1 oz pistachios
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 oz sugar
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 pinch salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil to taste


In Caponata, eggplants are traditionally deep fried to gain more flavor.
Deep fried eggplant cubes are added to the other ingredients only at the end.

In a frying pan pour a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, and start sautee the red onion first, then red pepper and, at last, the zucchini.
After a 3 or 4 minutes minutes we can add the other ingredients: capers, sultanas, pine nuts, sugar, white vinegar, pistachios, and the deep fried eggplant.

Once the Caponata is ready, put it at rest in a warm place, and move on to the Tuna steak.

The tuna steak should be at least 1 inch thick to be correctly seared.
To prepare the steak, season the steak with salt and pepper.
In a frying pan put some Italian extra virgin olive oil, crushed garlic (to be removed later) and sear the tuna steak with 1 minute cooking time per side approx.

When the tuna steak is seared, it can be served as a whole steak, or cut into slices.

As a final preparation and serving tip, use a tin stamp to serve the caponata on the side of the dish, while serving the sliced seared tuna steak on the other side.

Food History

Found throughout the Mediterranean, today caponata is generally used as a side dish or appetizer, however during the 17th century it was consumed with bread as a main dish.
The origin of this dish is a mystery, as is its name. There are various theories however: some believe the word comes from Catalan, while others sustain that it comes from the Latin word “caupona”, or the port tavern where the sailors went to eat lunch. Therefore, in this case, capontata would mean bar food. But the most accredited theory is that the name comes from “capone,” a Sicilian fish enjoyed by the aristocracy and eaten with a sweet-and-sour sauce like caponata.
It is quite possible that the people, not in a position to buy the expensive fish, began substituting it with additional eggplants, while keeping the name of the dish the same. Caponata still considered one of the most famous dishes of Sicilian cuisine.

Did you know that

in Sicily there are over 30 “traditional” versions of caponata?

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