Spice-crusted tuna salad

Salads do not have to boring! This gutsy dish is jam-packed with zingy flavours. Try it as a weekend lunch with friends.

By Tom Kerridge
From Food & Drink


For the glazed chicory

  • 1 orange, juice and zest only
  • 4 tbsp raspberry vinegar
  • 2 heads red chicory, leaves separated
  • 200ml/7fl oz rapeseed oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the battered anchovies

  • 25g/1oz cornflour
  • 40g/1½oz self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 50-100ml/2-3½fl oz ice-cold sparkling water
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 12-15 tinned anchovies in oil, drained

For the spiced tuna

  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 2 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 1 tsp dried garlic powder
  • 4 x 200g/7oz tuna steaks
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • knob unsalted butter
  • ½ lemon, juice only

For the salad

  • 2 Little Gem lettuces, cut into quarters lenghtways
  • 50ml/2fl oz olive oil
  • 1 head white chicory, leaves separated
  • ½ bunch fresh flatleaf parsley, leaves only
  • 100g/3½oz feta, cut into cubes


  1. For the glazed chicory, heat the orange juice and zest in a saucepan over a medium heat until the volume of liquid has reduced to a sticky glaze. Add the raspberry vinegar and bring the mixture to the boil.

  2. Add the red chicory leaves and cook, stirring well, for 2-3 minutes, or until wilted. Add the rapeseed oil, then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. (This will make more glazed chicory than you will need for this recipe. Any leftover chicory can be stored, covered in the oil, in a sterilised, airtight container and kept in the fridge for up to two weeks.)

  3. For the battered anchovies, in a large bowl, whisk together the cornflour, self-raising flour and enough iced sparkling water to form a batter that is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and has the consistency of double cream.

  4. Heat the vegetable oil in a deep-fat fryer to 180C. Alternatively, heat the oil in a deep, heavy-based saucepan until a breadcrumb sizzles and turns golden-brown when dropped into it. (Caution: Hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.)

  5. Dust the drained anchovies in a little flour, then dip them into the batter to coat. Carefully lower the anchovies into the hot oil and fry for 2-3 minutes, or until crisp and deep golden-brown. Remove from the oil using a slotted spoon and set aside to drain on kitchen paper. Keep warm.

  6. For the spiced tuna, in a dry frying pan, toast the cumin seeds and coriander seeds over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until fragrant. Grind the spices using a spice grinder or a pestle and mortar. Stir in the remaining spices, grinding them as you go. Sprinkle this spice rub onto a plate.

  7. Press the tuna steaks into the spice rub to completely coat on one side, then set aside.

  8. For the salad, put the Little Gem lettuce quarters on a baking tray and drizzle over a little olive oil. Using a chef’s blowtorch (or a very hot grill), lightly char the edges of the lettuce leaves.

  9. In a large bowl, mix together the charred Little Gem lettuce, white chicory leaves, parsley, feta, and a large spoonful of the glazed chicory. Toss the salad until coated in the glaze (you may need to add more of the glazed chicory).

  10. To cook the spiced tuna steaks, add the vegetable oil to a large non-stick frying pan set over a medium heat. Fry the tuna steaks, spiced-side down (in batches if necessary), and fry until the spice rub forms a crisp, golden-brown crust.

  11. Add the butter and lemon juice to the pan, turn the tuna steaks over and baste the other side with the pan juices. Continue to fry for 1-2 minutes, or until the tuna is cooked to your liking.

  12. Serve the spiced tuna steaks with the salad alongside. Garnish with the battered anchovies.

Recommended wine

Jacobs Creek Pinot Noir 2012, Montgravet Vieilles Vignes Carignan 2013 L’Herault France or Côtes du Rhône Domiane de la Janasse 2012.