Skip to content

Robert St. John

Restaurateur, author, enthusiastic traveler, & world-class eater.

Sicilian Tuna Salad

My friend David Trigiani ate a version of this on a trip to Sicily and prepared it for lunch one day in his home. I fell in love with it and adapted my version for use on a regional Italian menu at Tabella. It’s perfect for hot summer days. I use fresh, seared yellowfin tuna here (it can be grilled, too), but high quality imported Italian canned tuna works as well. Many don’t’ mix cheese and seafood. If that offends you then just omit the cheese and carry on.

Ingredients

2 lbs. Red B-size potatoes, quartered
2 quarts Chicken stock (see recipe), cold
¼ cup + ¾ tsp Kosher salt
1 lb. Yellowfin tuna steak, highest quality
1 tsp House seasoning blend (see recipe)
2 Tbl + 1 Tsp    Extra virgin olive oil
½ cup Red onion, thinly sliced
1 pint  Grape tomatoes, halved
3 Tbl Capers
¾ cup Green Castelvetrano olives, pitted and sliced

¾ tsp Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup White vinegar
2 – 5 oz. bags mixed greens
6 Tbl Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
½ cup House dressing (see recipe)
4 Roma tomatoes, quartered (2 per person)
1  Large lemon, quartered and each quarter halved (1 per person)

Instructions

Bring the cold stock, ¼ cup salt and red potatoes to a boil in a large pot. As soon as it comes to a boil, drain immediately and spread out on a baking pan. Allow to cool completely in the refrigerator.

Heat 1 TB of oil in a 10” skillet over medium heat. Season the tuna with the house seasoning. Once oil is heated, sear the tuna for 2-3 minutes on each side, being careful not to burn. The tuna should still have a warm pink center. Do not cook past that point. If you prefer, you may cook the tuna less. Remove from the skillet and let rest at room temperature until cooled. Once cooled, shred the tuna into large pieces by hand and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, add the shredded tuna, remaining oil and salt, onion, chilled potatoes, tomatoes, capers, olives, pepper and vinegar and combine thoroughly.

In a separate large mixing bowl, toss the mixed greens, shredded cheese and house dressing thoroughly.

Divide the salad green mixture among 6-8 plates. Divide the composed tuna salad mixture on top of each plate of greens. Garnish each with 2 quartered tomatoes, lemon wedge and additional grated cheese if desired.

Recent Recipes

Cinnamon Cream Syrup

This pairs perfectly with Sweet Potato Pancakes. It may be better than the pancakes themselves (and they’re great). But try this recipe on regular pancakes, waffles, and French toast.

Read more

Sweet Potato Pancakes

I ate my first sweet potato pancake during my only visit to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. My family, along with another couple and their young children rented a cabin in the mountains during spring break. I woke every morning and headed into town for breakfast. I would imagine Gatlinburg has more pancake houses per capita than any place on the planet. My problem is that I never found a good-tasting pancake until I happened across sweet potato pancakes at one of the pancake houses. We serve a version of this recipe at The Midtowner. The Cinnamon Cream Syrup is a must.

Read more

RSJ’s Smoked Yellowfin Tuna Dip

The smoked tuna dip at Harbor docks is, by far, the best in the area. Actually, it’s the best I have ever tasted. Over the years I have taken a few stabs at recreating a Harbor Dock’s version, but always come up short. After several failed attempts, and facing a cookbook deadline, I finally worked up a recipe for smoked crab dip, which is excellent, though my wife still prefers Harbor Docks smoked tuna dip.

Read more