Basil Oil Tuna

James Martin's sophisticated marinated tuna dish, with its Mediterranean flavourings, is a simple but stylish way of serving this luxurious fish
By James Martin
Basil Oil Tuna
  • Rating:
  • Serves: Serves 4
  • Cook Time: 2 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Effort: easy



  • 1 long tuna steaks, about 350g
  • 5 tbsp basil-infused olive oil
  • 2 large lemons
  • groundnut oil, for frying
  • 5 fat cloves garlic, sliced wafer thin
  • 3 shallots, sliced wafer thin
  • 100 g rocket
  • freshly ground salt and black pepper


1. Trim the tuna to form a neat log shape and wrap tightly in cling film. Place in the freezer for about 1 hour until firm. This makes for easier slicing.

2. Slice the ice-cold tuna as thinly as possible and lay out on 4 serving plates, as you would slices of smoked salmon. Brush all over with half the basil oil, season and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to absorb the flavour.

3. Meanwhile, peel one of the lemons and remove the white pith. Cut between the membranes to remove the segments. Squeeze the juice from the other lemon. Set the segments and juice aside.

4. Heat the groundnut oil to a depth of 3cm in a frying pan. When hot but not smoking, add the garlic and shallots and deep-fry for 1-2 minutes until pale golden brown and crisp. Drain on kitchen paper and set aside.

5. Dress the rocket leaves with the remaining basil oil, then toss with the lemon juice and seasoning.

6. Place the dressed rocket leaves and lemon segments on the edge of each plate of tuna, then scatter over the crispy garlic and shallots. Serve immediately.

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