Mediterranean Style Pan Seared Tuna with Lemon Vinaigrette and Tomatoes, Olives and Basil



  • 2 x 200g Tuna Steaks
  • 150g Cherry Tomatoes (cut in half)
  • 15 Kalamata Olives (segmented into 3 and cut into cheeks)
  • 1 Lemon (Zest peeled into rough strips, and juiced)
  • 100ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Sprigs of Thyme
  • Small Bunch Basil
  • Small Bunch Parsley


  1. Lightly season the tuna steaks with salt and pepper, thyme sprigs and a little bit of olive oil and let sit for 4-6hrs.  Before cooking, remove the tuna steaks from the fridge 1hr to allow it to come to room temperature.
  2. Place your lemon zest in a small pot with the olive oil, bring it up to a gentle simmer and turn off the heat.  Let it sit and gently poach for 25mins.  Remove the lemon zest and reserve the olive oil.
  3. Add 2tbsp lemon juice, with the lemon scented olive oil, along with salt and pepper to taste.  Lightly toss the basil, tomatoes and olives in the vinaigrette.
  4. Heat a non stick frying pan on high heat until piping hot.  Remove your thyme spigs and place your tuna steaks onto the pan and cook for 1-3mins each side.  The exterior should be golden brown and the inside very rare.


  • Cut your tuna into large wedges and place in the center of your place.  Arrange your tomatoes, olives and basil over and around the tuna.  Spoon a little of the lemon scented vinaigrette over the tuna and garnish with the poached lemon peel, and parsley.


  • When buying tuna, the size and shape can be variable depending on the section of the loin it was cut from.  Try to aim for thicker cuts as they won’t overcook as easily as thinner ones.
  • Tuna is very lean and unforgiving when it’s overcooked.  It becomes dry, flaky and unpalatable, so try not to overcook it and keep it rare.
  • The cooking time for your tuna is listed here as variable (between 1-3mins each side), in order to help compensate for the how thick your portion of tuna might be. So if you have a very thin steak, you’d probably only need a hard sear for a min each side, versus a very thick steak which may need a full 3mins each side to help compensate for this discrepancy in size and shape.
  • When you’re segmenting the olives, stand the olives up and cut around the pit into 3 equal size cheeks.  A tip is to visualize a triangle in the center of the olive as it’s standing upright, and cutting around the triangle to avoid the pit.
  • Keep in mind the olives can be quite salty, which may throw off the balance of the dish.  So when you’re making your vinaigrette, lightly season it with salt and pepper.  When you dress your tomatoes, olives and basil, try some and adjust the seasoning accordingly.
  • This is a very simple and delicious dish, but because it’s so simple it relies heavily on good ingredients to truly make it shine.  So try buying the best quality tuna, olive oil and tomatoes you can afford to assemble this dish.  It’ll pay off in the end.
  • This is a great dish, particularly during the summer when both the tomatoes and basil are in season and full of flavour.  

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