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Nonna Fangitta's Tuna

(recipe, Jamie Oliver)

Introduction

A lovely lady called Nonna Fangitta made me this incredible dish on the island of Favignana off the coast of Sicily. It's so so good, and any leftovers can be used in pasta or in a salad the next day. Make sure you get your tuna in a whole piece, rather than in bits.

Ingredients

  1. 1 lb. 2 oz. fresh, ripe tomatoes (red, yellow, and orange if you can get them)
  2. 14 oz. fresh tuna fillet, whole
  3. 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  4. 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves picked
  5. 1 fresh red chile, deseeded and finely sliced
  6. Olive oil
  7. Small handful capers, rinsed
  8. 6 anchovy fillets
  9. 1 tsp. dried oregano
  10. 1 cinnamon stick
  11. 1 can (14 ounces) good-quality plum tomatoes
  12. Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  13. Extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
  14. Small handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped (optional)

Steps

  1. Get a pot that snugly fits your tuna; it’s important that you don’t use one that’s too big, because you want to poach the tuna in the tomato sauce. If the pot is too big it won’t work, because the sauce won’t cover the tuna.
  2. Put your pot on high heat and add a kettleful of boiling water. Put the tomatoes into the water for about 40 seconds, then drain them in a colander. Remove them to a bowl of cold water for 30 seconds, then set aside and allow to cool a little before rubbing the skins off, removing the cores, and carefully squeezing out the seeds.
  3. Meanwhile, carefully stab one side of the tuna at an angle about 8 or 9 times. In each incision, place a slice of garlic, a little sprig of rosemary, and a sliver of chile.
  4. Put the pot back on the heat and add a little olive oil. Add the remaining garlic, chile, and rosemary with the capers, anchovies, oregano, and cinnamon stick, and cook gently until the garlic softens. Add the tomatoes and the canned tomatoes; bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Break up the tomatoes in the sauce with a wooden spoon and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Carefully add the tuna to the sauce, pushing it right down so that the sauce completely covers it. Place the lid on the pot, slightly ajar, and simmer for around 25 minutes (depending on the thickness of your tuna). You can test to see how cooked it is by removing it from the sauce and seeing if it flakes.
  6. Once the fish is cooked, take the pot off the heat and let it cool down to eating temperature with the lid on. In Italy, you’d normally eat this as a fish course with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and some parsley scattered over, but it would also be good on crostini. I like to serve it in the pot in the middle of the table so that people can help themselves. Lovely with some bread.