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Gino's Italian Escape

Semolina-Crusted Fresh Tuna

“It’s kind of a posh tuna salad and the flavour and texture combinations are truly heavenly”
– Gino D’Acampo

Tuna has been fished in Sardinia for thousands of years and is central to the islanders’ diet. Make sure you buy sustainable tuna, ideally approved by the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council), and use good-quality olives.

Serve with lots of warm, crusty bread to mop up the sauce.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

– 8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
– 4 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
– 500g large fresh plum tomatoes, quartered and deseeded, and each quarter cut in half lengthways
– 100g whole pitted green olives
– 350ml white wine vinegar
– 4 bay leaves
– 500g piece of fresh tuna loin
– About 1 litre vegetable oil for deep-frying
– 80g coarse semolina
– Salt and freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

To make the marinade, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a low heat. Add the garlic and fry gently for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and olives and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour over the vinegar and add the bay leaves. Stir and cook for 6 minutes.

Cut the tuna into 2cm-thick slices across the grain. Put the semolina on a large plate or tray. Dip the tuna slices in the semolina to coat.

Heat a deep-fat fryer to 190°C, or heat the vegetable oil in a deep pan or a wok until very hot. To test the temperature, add a tiny piece of bread; it will sizzle when the oil is hot enough for frying.

Place the tuna carefully in the hot oil. Fry without moving for 1 minute, then turn and fry for a further minute or until golden all over. You may need to fry in batches. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to kitchen paper to drain.

Place the tuna in a shallow, non-metallic dish and pour over the marinade. Set aside to cool. Cover and refrigerate for 10–24 hours, turning occasionally.

Remove from the fridge about 1 hour before serving and discard the bay leaves. Place the tuna in a serving dish and pour over the marinade.

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