Seared Yellowfin Tuna with Fennel Salad and Salmon Caviar

11:30 am on 11 October 2010

What an absolutely beautiful dish. Fantastic fresh tuna loin seared, then wrapped in clingfilm to keep its shape. Served with some Swiss red chard and watercress with a beautiful preserved lemon dressing, it was a beautiful dish to look at but even better to eat. It was just a shame that I left a little piece of clingfilm on it and a customer found it. This is something I would cook again. Everyone who tried it loved it.

(Serves 4)
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour

MasterChef Brett McGregorIngredients

  • 2 small to medium sized bulbs fennel
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 preserved lemon quarters, flesh discarded and peel cut into 3mm dice
  • 1 x 350g – 400g yellowfin tuna loin
  • olive oil for frying
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • lemon oil for drizzling
  • small handful micro-cress
  • salmon caviar for serving


Using a mandolin, shave the fennel bulbs into thin slices. Place in a bowl of cold water with a squeeze of lemon juice. Put the preserved lemon in another bowl. Place both in the fridge.

Heat an oiled frying pan over a high heat until very hot. Brush the tuna with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Sear the tuna loin for 1–2 minutes on each side, turning it as you go. It should have a crust, but remain raw in the centre. Remove the tuna from the pan and cool in the freezer for 45 minutes.

When the tuna is cool enough to handle, cut it into 5mm-thick slices. Lightly wrap in clingfilm and form into a cylindrical shape, and twist the ends.

Drain the fennel and combine with the preserved lemon. Drizzle with lemon oil and carefully mix together.

To serve, arrange the tuna slices in the centre of a plate, overlapping the edges. Top with a small handful of fennel salad and some micro-cress. Scatter with salmon caviar, and drizzle with lemon oil.

Suggested wines to complement this recipe

2009 Churton Sauvignon Blanc - Marlborough - but not all aggressive. Smells like fresh lemon, mint.. Has ice balance in the mouth - some weight to match the tuna but fresh acid for the lemon and fennel too.

2009 Gladstone Sauvignon Blanc - Wairarapa - good mineral character. Fresh but not aggressive. Smart citrus. A dry finish. It's been called "sauvignon blanc for grown ups".

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