Ingredients: Per 4 servings
- ½ lb fresh tuna fillets, thinly sliced
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 celery heart, sliced
- 3 ½ oz pitted olives
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 basil leaves
- 4 slices bread
Arrange the tuna slices on a serving dish and season with lemon juice, a pinch of salt and pepper and let marinate for 5 or 10 minutes.
In the meanwhile, drizzle the bread slices with extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper, then place them in a toaster oven with heat on both sides for a couple of minutes until they are a nice golden brown.
Drain the olives, cut into rings and mix with celery and thinly sliced basil.
Cover the tuna slices with the little salad you have just prepared and serve with freshly toasted bread.
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Tuna was once caught in the Mediterranean Sea using a long and complex network of nets that stretched for miles, called "tonnare.” These nets, forming corridors into the sea, led the tuna into a trap and were caught at during the “mattanza.”
Over time, however, the tuna fishing techniques have evolved. Now, the traditional "traps" have almost all been converted into museums or tourist attractions.
In Sicily, however, there are still two netting operations: in Bonagia and Favignana. Every year in these towns at the end of the Spring, you can still witness this ancient tradition in which, under the orders of the "Rais,” the head of the trappers," the men hoist the over 300-pound tuna, which are caught during their migration from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, on board the boat with their bare hands.
The whole experience, for who witnesses it, is reminiscent of an archaic world, almost impossible to understand, in which tradition and superstition blend in the struggle for survival.
Despite the tragic nature of the netting, however, tuna fishing is actually more sustainable than modern fishing boast since it leads to the capture of only a small proportion of schools of tuna that cross the Mediterranean versus overfishing.
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