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.

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

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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.

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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!!!

By Published On: June 10th, 201544 Comments

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!

44 Comments

  1. emmabarrett1508 June 10, 2015 at 8:05 AM - Reply

    Looks amazing Mimi. I hope you’ve seen my latest IMK post. We have some very exciting news at SurreyKitchen. Emma xx

    • chef mimi June 10, 2015 at 8:24 AM - Reply

      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!

  2. chefconnie June 10, 2015 at 9:15 AM - Reply

    I really enjoy My French Heaven. I love using a salt crust. It is a technique that works particularly well with fish.

    • chef mimi June 10, 2015 at 9:33 AM - Reply

      I’ve only done it myself with beef, but the fish was just moist, tender, and exquisite!

  3. Our Growing Paynes June 10, 2015 at 12:00 PM - Reply

    A gorgeous meal to bring home with you. I really enjoy seared tuna when I can find a good cut. I’ll have to try this.

  4. oceanviewkitchen June 10, 2015 at 12:19 PM - Reply

    This sounds really good! Love the combination of capers and pinenuts! I’ll have to try this:)

    • chef mimi June 10, 2015 at 1:46 PM - Reply

      I would never have included pine nuts! It’s so fun to be inspired by other people who cook!

  5. richardmcgary June 10, 2015 at 1:38 PM - Reply

    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. :(

    • chef mimi June 10, 2015 at 1:47 PM - Reply

      Absolutely! I do love them over vegetables as well. Stephane is like you – he’s a great chef and host! How is Elia’s back doing?

      • richardmcgary June 10, 2015 at 2:58 PM

        Chronic and never ending. :( Seeing more specialists but running out of hope.

      • chef mimi June 10, 2015 at 4:08 PM

        Oh I’m so sorry.

  6. StefanGourmet June 10, 2015 at 2:08 PM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi June 10, 2015 at 4:08 PM - Reply

      I know! I have never added pine nuts or any nuts to a vinaigrette for fish either. But it’s really good!

    • Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward June 10, 2015 at 5:48 PM - Reply

      Stefan, I’ve tried pignoles in similar recipes. The flavor is mild and they provide a nice textural component. :-)

      • StefanGourmet June 11, 2015 at 2:36 AM

        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.

      • chef mimi June 11, 2015 at 8:56 AM

        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.

  7. Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward June 10, 2015 at 5:48 PM - Reply

    If I didn’t have three kids at home and two/of three sleeping, I would go out and get some fresh tuna, Mimi! This looks great. Nice photos, too.

    • chef mimi June 10, 2015 at 6:20 PM - Reply

      The tuna was actually rare, but it look overly done in the photos. Should have not messed with Photoshop!

  8. anotherfoodieblogger June 10, 2015 at 8:14 PM - Reply

    That is a very versatile vinaigrette!

  9. lapetitepaniere June 10, 2015 at 11:57 PM - Reply

    This recipe sounds amazing! :)

  10. chefceaser June 11, 2015 at 1:10 AM - Reply

    Reblogged this on Chef Ceaser.

  11. dedy oktavianus pardede June 11, 2015 at 8:27 AM - Reply

    nice tangy vinegrette for tuna steak!!!

  12. Conor Bofin June 11, 2015 at 2:34 PM - Reply

    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.
    Best,
    Conor

    • chef mimi June 11, 2015 at 7:59 PM - Reply

      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!

  13. dianeskitchentable June 11, 2015 at 6:48 PM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi June 11, 2015 at 8:00 PM - Reply

      In France, all the heads are attached!!! Can’t wait for you to post on all of that fresh fish…

      • dianeskitchentable June 12, 2015 at 9:48 AM

        I know & I just hate having my dinner staring at me. As for the fresh fish…well, the fish have to be biting I guess.

  14. Chica Andaluza June 12, 2015 at 11:30 AM - Reply

    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!).

    • chef mimi June 12, 2015 at 11:44 AM - Reply

      oh my gosh you have to visit him! he knows his corner of France really well and would love to cook for you!

  15. The Gourmet Gourmand June 12, 2015 at 3:56 PM - Reply

    Wow this looks absolutely marvelous! Seared tuna is one of my favorite dishes and it looks like you’ve done it justice here.. :)

    • chef mimi June 12, 2015 at 5:55 PM - Reply

      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…

  16. Christine June 12, 2015 at 6:22 PM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi June 28, 2015 at 12:34 PM - Reply

      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!

  17. ladyredspecs June 13, 2015 at 12:29 AM - Reply

    Delicious Mimi

  18. Peter - The Roaming GastroGnome June 13, 2015 at 11:58 AM - Reply

    Looks like a very nice dish for the summer grill.

  19. Marcela (tortadellafiglia) June 19, 2015 at 12:15 AM - Reply

    Looks amazing! I love tuna ! I can’t wait to try your awesome vinaigrette! Lovely idea!

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