Herb and spice crusted tuna with eggplant salad

Neil Perry
A herb and spice crusted tuna with eggplant salad.
A herb and spice crusted tuna with eggplant salad. Photo: William Meppem

I love this dish because the elements are so versatile. You can sear any protein you like with the chermoula. Add the chermoula to water, lemon and honey and boil with vegetables, meat or fish and you have a tagine. The eggplant salad can be used with anything, it’s so simple and delicious.

Ingredients

4 x 200g tuna steaks

FOR THE EGGPLANT SALAD

olive oil

3 eggplants, sliced into 1cm rounds

3 tbsp flat-leaf parsley leaves

4 vine-ripened tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded and diced

2 tbsp ground cumin

juice of 1 lemon

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

FOR THE CHERMOULA 

½ bunch flat-leaf parsley

½ bunch coriander

1 large red onion

4 cloves garlic, peeled

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tbsp ground turmeric

1 tbsp chilli powder

½ tbsp sea salt

150ml olive oil

juice of 1 lemon

Method

1. To make the salad, heat enough olive oil in a large frying pan to shallow-fry the eggplant slices in two or three batches until dark brown on both sides. Transfer to a bowl. Fry the parsley in the oil until crisp (stand back, it will spit). Remove the parsley and place with the eggplant.

2. Tip out most of the oil, leaving about a cup in the pan. Add the tomato and cumin and stir for3 minutes to cook out the spices. Return the eggplant and parsley to the pan and stir for 1 minute. Add the lemon juice and check for salt and pepper. Keep warm.

3. To make the chermoula, place everything except the olive oil and lemon juice in a food processor or blender. Process for 1 minute and slowly pour in the olive oil until a thick paste forms. Stir through the lemon juice. Refrigerate until ready to use.

4. Preheat the oven to 100°C (80°C fan-forced).

5. Coat both sides of the tuna evenly with the chermoula. Heat 2 heavy-based frying pans that will each hold 2 serves of tuna and, in each, pour in 20ml of olive oil. Heat until almost smoking.

6. Add the tuna and sear. Don't jiggle the pans, as it will stop a firm crust from forming. Cook for 2 minutes and gently turn the fish and cook for another 1½ minutes.

7. Transfer to a plate and place the fish in the warm oven with the door slightly ajar for 5 minutes. The tuna will still be very rare in the centre, but warmed through.

8. Place tuna steaks on eggplant salad and finish with a squeeze of lemon. Serve immediately.