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Mediterranean Tuna and White Bean-Fennel Salad

Nov 19, 2014 04:00PM ● By Cate Reynolds
Rhea’s Rundown

It’s a tough call, but this dish is my favorite of the week, which is saying a lot since I absolutely love scallops. I’m a sucker for the salty flavors of the capers and kalamata olives, and when paired with tomatoes, cannellini beans, and fennel the overall combination is so enjoyable. That alone would have been enough to take first place, but there’s the wine involved, too. Cooking with wine is an automatic win in my book since it imparts an amazing flavor and it means a nice glass of wine while I cook and eat. Of course, I often cook with wine (and sometimes put it in the food, too), but when it’s included in a recipe it’s like a guarantee of a good time.

To top it all off, this fantastic dish is so easy to make. The only time-consuming aspect of the recipe is mincing one onion, which is in everyone’s wheelhouse. From there, cut up a little fennel, garlic, kalamata olives, tomatoes, and parsley (trust me, that list involves a very minimal amount of work) and all that’s left is searing a couple tuna steaks for a few minutes. By the end, you’ll wonder how such a scrumptious concoction was made with so little effort. The last thing I’ll gush about is the fact that this recipe also calls for fresh lemon. I’m just a little crazy about fresh lemon juice and tend to want to put it on everything. On a practical note, be careful not to overcook the tuna (unless you like that kind of thing), the instructed time worked perfectly for me.

Ingredients – Serves 4
  • 2 (10-12 ounce) tuna steaks, 1- ¼ inches thick
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 1 fennel bulb, stalks discarded, bulb halved, cored, and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 ounces cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed
  • ½ cup pitted kalamata olives, minced
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Dry white wine
  • Fresh lemon juice


1. Pat tuna dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add tuna and cook until opaque at perimeter and translucent red at center when check with tip of paring knife and registers 110 degrees (for rare), about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to cutting board.

2. Add 1 tablespoon oil, onion, and fennel to now-empty skillet and cook until vegetables begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook until heated through, 3 to 5 minutes. Off heat, stir in parsley and remaining 1 tablespoon oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. I added a little white wine and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice at the end here for a little extra flavor.

3. Slice tuna steaks into 1/2-inch pieces and divide among individual plates. Serve with white bean salad.

Adapted from: “Mediterranean Tuna and White Bean-Fennel Salad.” America’s Test Kitchen: The Best Simple Recipes. Boston Common Press Limited Partnership. 2013. Print.

Rhea Torreon
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