Recipe: Fried tuna with tomatoes and onions

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Fried tuna with tomatoes and onions is one of the dishes in “Piri Piri Starfish: Portugal Found” by Tessa Kiros, who spent a year in Portugal exploring its cuisine. The result is as much journal and travelogue as cookbook
(Manos Chatzikonstantis)

Total time: 30 minutes

Servings: 4

Note: Adapted from “Piri Piri Starfish.”

1/2 cup olive oil (more as needed), divided


2 garlic cloves, peeled and slightly crushed

4 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped

Salt, pepper

4 onions, thinly sliced


1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 (1-pound each) tuna steaks, about 1 1/2 inches thick, halved crosswise

1 1/2 cups dry breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons chopped parsley


1. In a sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and season with one-half teaspoon salt and one-eighth-teaspoon pepper. Simmer 5 to 10 minutes until the tomatoes are tender and release their juices. If necessary, add a few tablespoons of water to thin out the sauce slightly. Remove the garlic, adjust seasoning as needed and set aside, covered, in a warm place.

2. In a large frying pan, heat the remaining oil over medium heat and sauté the onions. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and one-fourth teaspoon pepper and cook until soft and golden, turning with a wooden spoon occasionally to prevent burning. Add the vinegar and simmer until it is just absorbed. Tilt the pan, keeping the onion-flavored oil to one side (you’ll use this to cook the tuna). Lift out the onions with a slotted spoon, set aside and keep warm.

3. Rinse the tuna and pat dry with paper towels. Season each piece with one-half teaspoon salt. Place the breadcrumbs on a plate, and coat the tuna on all sides. Add a little more oil, if needed, to the pan and place over medium heat. When hot, add the tuna and fry until a deep golden brown crust has formed underneath, about 1 1/2 minutes. Flip the tuna and cook the other side.

4. Divide the onions evenly among four plates; place tuna on top of each. Top with the tomato sauce. Scatter with parsley; serve with crispy fried or boiled potatoes.


Each serving: 728 calories; 61 grams protein; 48 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams fiber; 32 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 102 mg. cholesterol; 1,847 mg. sodium.

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