Tuna with a Vinaigrette


This recipe was inspired by a meal Stéphane made my daughter and I when we visited him in France last year. If you’re not yet familiar with this culinary wizard and photographer extraordinaire, check out his blog at My French Heaven, and his business website for his custom food and wine tours at Your French Heaven.

We only had four full days in our French heaven in April of 2014, but oh, they were four of the best days of my life. We visited chateaux and castles, walked the countryside, sampled Bordeaux wines, and ate lunches and dinners prepared and served by Stéphane himself. Can you imagine?!!! You don’t even have to lift a finger. Unless you want to.

Every morning the three of us visited farmers’ market in four different towns, and planned the daily meals then. One dinner created by Stéphane was based on a lovely sea bass he purchased on one of these mornings.

As you can see in the photos, Stéphane baked the fish in a salt crust. Then he prepared a simple, yet obviously unforgettable pine nut vinaigrette to go over it. And that is the reason I’m making the tuna today – just as an excuse to create a similar vinaigrette.

I didn’t pay attention to his exact recipe, and if I had I wouldn’t share it with you! But it’s one of those that can be altered to your personal taste in any case.*

I love sea bass and other white fish. However, if I had to choose my favorite fish, it would be tuna, with salmon as a close second. I think I like the stronger flavors of these, although there’s also nothing more fabulous than delicate white fish when it’s cooked perfectly. And Stéphane’s was perfection.

The ingredients of this vinaigrette are fairly basic, and not too subtle to pair with the tuna.


As I typically do with recipes, I’m only listing the ingredients I used; the amounts are up to you.
Tuna with a Pine Nut Vinaigrette

Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Capers, drained
Minced garlic
Toasted pine nuts
Chopped parsley

Ahi, thick steaks preferably
Olive oil

Begin by adding equal amounts of olive oil and vinegar to a small bowl. The overall amount depends on how many you’re serving but trust me when I tell you that this vinaigrette stores well in the refrigerator! Add a handful of drained capers.

Add the garlic, the pine nuts, and then the parsley. Stir well and set aside.

Meanwhile, sear your tuna steaks to your liking.

Serve the vinaigrette at room temperature.

I poured some over the tuna steaks, but also served extra on the side.
It’s just that good!!!

* It’s obvious from the photos at the top that Stéphane used shallots instead of garlic, and dill instead of parsley. This just shows how versatile the vinaigrette is!!!

44 thoughts on “Tuna with a Vinaigrette

    • No, in fact I was just thinking yesterday that I haven’t seen a post of yours for quite a while. There must be some WordPress hiccup. I’ll look into it immediately!

  1. I love a good vinaigrette. Vinaigrettes are so versatile. Most people in the US think a vinaigrette is reserved just for salads but, as you show, they go beautifully with fish, not to mention veggies. I like the combination of the salty capers with the pine nuts and peppery parsley. Very nice indeed.
    We love Stefane’s blog. I have chatted with him back and forth on the blog and he has had had a very interesting life. He is a very fascinating person and I would love to visit his B&B. Sadly, it will be a while before we do any traveling. :(

  2. The interesting ingredient in this dressing is toasted pine nuts. I would never have thought to pair those with fish. Based on your and Stéphanes recommendation, I’ll have to try it myself now.

      • Thanks, Shanna. It was the toasting part that surprised me, which makes the flavor less mild. I’m familiar with untoasted pine nuts in fish recipes, which do indeed provide mainly a textural component.

      • Stephane actually didn’t toast his pine nuts, I just do by habit. I prefer the flavor of them toasted, and the tuna could obviously stand up to that flavor. Otherwise, they are so subtle, they would only provide texture.

  3. Mimi,
    Three things. Firstly, I love the vinaigrette. secondly, the tuna is cooked perfectly. Thirdly, I must contact Stephanie. We will be in France again inside a month.

    • I was just saying that because of me messing with Photoshop, the tuna looks overcooked. But it was indeed rare! Thanks, anyway! You must get ahold of Stephane. My girlfriend and I had so much fun earlier this month. He’s such a great chef and host!

  4. Funny but my husband just left today to go deep sea fishing with a friend & they’re hoping to catch bass. I’m a fish lover and hope he brings home some fresh fish for us but I did tell him to not bring anything back that had it’s head still attached.

  5. Absolutely gorgeous – exactly my kind of food! Am off to check out Stephane’s site as we pass through the Bordeaux region every time we go to and from Spain (the day before yesterday in fact!).

    • Thanks! It was actually quite rare, but I messed with photoshop and didn’t realize how much it didn’t look rare until the post published! oh well…

  6. Mmmm. I’ve just started cooking tuna at home. For some reason I’ve only ever had it in restaurants! Love the look and sound of this vinaigrette, too.

    • Oh I just found this comment, sorry! Tuna is so easy, but it’s just like a steak. It must be cooked properly! I always bring meat to nearly room temperature before cooking. That way, rare or medium-rare meat/fish isn’t cold in the middle. A good sear is all it takes!

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