Tonno in Gradela

Marinated Sautéed Tuna in a Fennel and Bread Crumb Crust

Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Mediterranean Kitchen

By Joyce Goldstein

Published 1998

  • About

This recipe is from the region of Friuli, more specifically from the town of Grado, near Trieste. The tuna steak should be cut about an inch thick to keep it from drying out when cooked. We’ve found that the crust browns best in a cast-iron pan. The original dish was a bit austere without a sauce, so we added a red pepper aioli. It seems to make the dish more elegant.


  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 pieces yellowfin or bigeye tuna fillet, 6 to 7 ounces each and about 1 inch thick
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • cups dry bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup ground toasted fennel seeds
  • 1 cup Red Pepper Aioli


    Mix ¼ cup olive oil and the lemon juice and brush over the tuna. Let marinate in the refrigerator at least 2 hours.

    Heat the remaining ½ cup olive oil in a heavy skillet over high heat. Sprinkle the tuna with salt and pepper. Mix the bread crumbs and fennel seeds and coat the tuna with the mixture. Add the tuna to the skillet and sauté, turning once, until crusty and light brown on the outside and medium-rare in the center, 2 to 3 minutes each side. Serve with red pepper aioli and accompany with sauteed Swiss chard.