Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club

Grilled Tuna with Red Wine, Caper, and Olive Sauce

Grilled Tuna

Though deeply rooted in ancient Greece, this piquant dish is sensational when made with premium Australian olive oils and wines. If you can, buy sushi-grade tuna steaks.


For the tuna:

  • 4 tuna steaks (each 6 to 8 ounces and 1 inch thick)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce:

  • About 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 small ripe tomato, peeled and seeded, then finely chopped
  • 2 cups dry red wine, preferably Australian
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme, or 1/4 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup black olives, preferably tiny niçoise olives, pitted
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper


Step 1

Brush the tuna steaks on both sides with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the tuna in a baking dish, cover it, and let marinate, in the refrigerator, for 30 minutes.

Step 2

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the red wine, tomato paste, thyme, bay leaf, olives, and capers and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and let simmer briskly until the sauce is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.

Step 3

Remove the sauce from the heat and discard the thyme sprig and bay leaf. Whisk in the remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste; the sauce should be highly seasoned. Cover and keep warm.

Step 4

Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to high. (Alternatively, use a grill pan.)

Step 5

When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Arrange the tuna steaks, facing in the same direction, on the hot grill grate. Grill the tuna steaks until cooked to taste, 1 to 2 minutes per side for rare, 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium-rare, turning them carefully with a spatula.

Step 6

Transfer the steaks to serving plates or a platter and serve at once with the sauce spooned on top.

Serves 4 — Recipe from The Barbecue! Bible by Steven Raichlen (Workman 2008)