Sicilian Sweet and Sour Tuna – Ortygia

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Sicilian Sweet and Sour Tuna

Tuna ingredients:

  • 2 6 ounce pieces of tuna about 1 1/2 inches thick
  • 2 tablespoons of whole fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon of coarse sea salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  • 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1/2 of one small lemon
  • 1/8 cup of dry Sicilian Marsala (not Californian)

Peperonata ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced in thin rounds
  • 1 sweet red bell pepper, sliced in thin strips
  • 2 tablespoons of red wine
  • 1 generous teaspoon of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
  • 6 black olives, halved and pitted
  • 2 tablespoons of capers
  • 1 tablespoon of dried red currants
  • 1 tablespoon of golden raisins

Braised Fennel ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large fennel bulb halved; remove stem, root end and tough outer layer
  • 6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1/4 cup of dry, white wine
  • salt and pepper

Peperonata preparation:

Add olive oil to a pan turn heat to high. When the oil starts to smoke, add the onions and reduce heat to medium. Cook for five minutes. Add the peppers and cook for five more minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook over low heat, covered, for 20 minutes.

Braised Fennel preparation:

Add fennel to small saute pan, cut side down, with olive oil, garlic cloves, and salt and pepper to taste. Put on medium heat and cook until cut side of fennel turns golden, about ten minutes. Turn fennel over. Cook for five minutes, then add white wine. Cook for five more minutes. Turn fennel back over, cut side down. Turn down heat as low as possible, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add extra wine a bit at a time if the pan gets dry.

Tuna preparation:

After the peperonata and braised fennel are on the stove and simmering, melt butter with olive oil in pan over medium heat. Mix the fennel, salt and pepper in a bowl. Dip tuna in fennel mixture on both sides to coat. When butter sizzles add tuna to pan. Cook for two minutes. Turn over the tuna pieces, raise to high heat and add the Marsala. Lower heat to medium and squeeze in lemon juice. Cook for two minutes. Remove from heat and place tuna on a plate with the juices. To server, cover with the peperonata, add braised fennel to plate with cut side facing up with the pan reduction and garlic.

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