Seared tuna with pistachio crust and papaya salsa

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150g shelled pistachio nuts
grated zest of 1 lemon
1kg tuna loin
2 tbsp olive oil
5 tbsp Dijon mustard
coarse sea salt and black pepper

Papaya salsa:
1 mini cucumber
1 large, ripe papaya, peeled, seeded and cut into 1cm cubes
1 large, ripe mango, peeled, stoned and cut into 1cm cubes
2 red chillies, seeded and finely chopped
10g fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 small red onion, finely chopped
grated zest and juice of 2 limes
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp caster sugar

You can prepare both the tuna and the salsa a day in advance and keep them chilled. The salsa will actually improve as its flavours intensify. It will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge. Slice the tuna just before serving it. It is extremely important that the fruit for the salsa is ripe and sweet. Pakistani mangoes, available from May to August, are unrivalled for their sweet flesh and perfumed aroma.
To get more flavour out of the pistachios, you could roast them in the oven at 170°C/Gas Mark 3 for about 8 minutes. If it is the visual effect that you’re after, leave them untoasted, as they lose some of their vibrant green colour when baked.
… and yes, we do know that cooked fish should not, under any circumstances, go on a blue chopping board (kitchen hygiene rules). Still, this board had so much history carved into it that Richard, the photographer insisted on using it for this shot. The poor old board went straight into the bin, taking with it a chunk of history.

serves 6

(p 140, The Ottolenghi cookbook)


The method for this recipe is available in the book Ottolenghi, The Cookbook, available to buy here.
Ottolenghi, The Cookbook |

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Perfect with

  1. Green pistachio kernels

    These vivid green kernels bring a jewel-like elegance to all dishes they are sprinkled upon

    Green pistachio kernels


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