Catch in the Kitchen - Tuna Salad with Caper and Chilli Dressing

by Michael Bok

This year has been one of the best tuna fishing seasons that we've experienced in many years. This has resulted in our house having an abundance of tuna in the freezer.

A big tuna soon fills the freezer and supplies enough fish for quite a few meals. Over the past couple of months we have eaten tuna many different ways - ranging from raw, to poached, deep fried and casseroled.

Because of the abundance of fish I started going through my cook books and cooking magazines for something different to try. A March 1989 "Australian Gourmet" magazine had a section devoted to tuna recipes and the following one took my fancy as worth checking out.

Tuna Salad with Caper and Chilli Dressing

600g tuna in one piece

½ cup olive oil

1/3 cup grapefruit juice

1 clove of garlic - crushed

¼ teaspoon chilli oil (*1)

80 g black olives

60 g anchovy fillets - chopped

1 red capsicum - roasted, skinned, seeded and chopped

150 g cherry tomatoes

A selection of different salad greens with strips of grapefruit ring for garnish


1 onion, peeled and chopped

¼ cup chopped basil

2 teaspoons chopped capers

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup safflower oil

¼ cup red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon lemon juice


To make chilli oil, cut 4 small red chillies in half lengthwise and infuse in 250 ml of good oil for at least 24 hours. This oil is also great to use for stir fries.

Put the tuna in a baking dish with the oil, grapefruit juice, garlic and chilli oil.

Cover with foil and cook in a 180 C oven, turning and basting several times for about 30 minutes or until it is cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow the tuna to cool in the liquid.

When cold, flake into large pieces.

To prepare salad, combine olives, anchovies, capsicum, cherry tomatoes and tuna in a bowl and toss lightly. Arrange salad greens in a large serving bowl or on individual plates and spoon tuna mixture onto the greens.

For the dressing, place onion, basil and capers in a bowl, add oils then whisk in vinegar and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Pour dressing on salad and toss lightly. Garnish with the grape fruit rind. Serves 4

The recipe is fairly easy to make, so guys, why don't you give your wife the night off and make this for her.

You never know, she may be so impressed that she sends you out fishing more often.

You could also try smoking the tuna, but try adding dried herbs or rosemary branches to the chips used when smoking the fish.

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