Seared Tuna with Sun-Dried Tomato & Jalapeño Preserves


This seared tuna makes a striking, sophisticated main course. The spicy preserves are bursting with layers of flavors from the bold sun-dried tomatoes, the zesty basil, and the sharp garlic. I often prepare the preserves a day or two in advance and store them in the fridge. I also like to serve this dish as an appetizer by reducing the quantity of tuna. (I still make the same amount of preserves, however, as they always get devoured!) For less spicy preserves, remove and discard the seeds from the jalapeno. If you have more preserves than you need for this dish, they will keep in a tightly capped jar in the fridge for up to one week. Just be sure to serve them at room temperature, not straight out of the fridge.


  • ½ cup ( oz/75 g) drained oil-packed or ( oz/45 g) dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 cups (2 oz/60 g) fresh basil leaves
  • 1 handful fresh mint leaves
  • 1 jalapeño chile, stemmed and halved lengthwise
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 3–4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6 tuna steaks, about 6 oz (185 g) each, cut into 2-by-4-inch (5-by-10-cm) pieces
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil such as avocado, sunflower, or canola


In a food processor, combine the sun-dried tomatoes, basil, mint, jalapeño, and garlic and pulse until the ingredients are finely chopped. Add 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, the vinegar, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper and process for a few seconds to combine, adding more oil if needed to achieve a good consistency. Transfer the preserves to a bowl or glass jar and set aside.

Season the tuna with salt and pepper. In a large sauté pan, heat the neutral oil over high heat. Working in batches to avoid crowding, add the tuna and sear, turning once, for 1 minute per side. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 3 minutes. Cut the tuna against the grain into thin slices.

Arrange the tuna slices on a serving plater and drizzle with the preserves. Serve at room temperature.