Fresh tuna provides an entirely different eating experience from canned tuna, so much so in fact that you could almost be forgiven for thinking you are eating an altogether different foodstuff. The principal problem with canned tuna is that not only does it tend to be over cooked in the first instance, it is further cooked by the heat generated during the canning process and unless you are mixing it with a moist ingredient such as mayo, it can make for a dry and slightly unpalatable eating experience. While it is not inexpensive to buy, fresh tuna does represent great value for money and it is more than worth the occasional outlay and indulgence where it is available. This dish provides not only a delicious variety of flavors but also a pleasing selection of textures and colors.

Pan Fried Tuna and Spicy Salsa on Potato Rostis
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Succulent fresh tuna is served on a spicy salsa bed on potato rostis

The salsa for this dish is best made at least a couple of hours in advance and stored in the fridge until required. This gives the different flavors time to infuse. Better still, it could be prepared the day before to save time on the night the meal is to be served.

Ingredients (Serves 1)

Salsa Ingredients
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Principal salsa ingredients

  • 4 ounce (approximately) fresh tuna loin fillet
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 2 inch piece English/hothouse cucumber
  • ½ medium size and strength red chili
  • 1 medium garlic clove
  • Pinch dried basil
  • Pinch dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (1 for salsa and two for frying)
  • 1 medium baking potato
  • ½ medium white onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose (plain) flour


Halved Tomato and Cucumber
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Tomato and cucumber portion are firstly cut in half

Wash the tomato and cucumber piece in cold water and pat gently dry with kitchen paper. Cut the tomato in half down through the center and the cucumber piece in half along its length.

Seeding Tomato and Cucumber
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Tomato and cucumber halves are seeded

A teaspoon is ideal for scraping the seeds and pulp from the tomato and cucumber halves, all of which should be discarded.

Diced Tomato and Cucumber
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Tomato and cucumber are diced and added to a mixing bowl

Moderately finely dice the tomato and cucumber halves and add them to a glass or stone mixing bowl. It is better not to use a plastic bowl as plastic can absorb the strong flavors and affect future preparations.

Seeding Chili and Garlic
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Seeds and stalks are remoived from chili and garlic

When incorporating larger, older garlic cloves in a salsa, salad or anything else where the garlic is not to be either cooked or grated, it is advisable to remove the tough, indigestible inner stalk. This is easily done by cutting the garlic clove in half from top to bottom and popping the two pieces free with the point of a sharp knife. The seeds and membrane should simply be scraped from the chili half.

Salsa Ingredients
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Salsa ingredients are added to a mixing bowl

Finely dice the garlic and chili and add to the bowl with the tomato and cucumber. Season with salt, pepper and the dried herbs. Drizzle with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.

Stirring Salsa
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Salsa ingredients are stirred together to combine

Stir the salsa well, cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate until it is required.

Potato and Onion
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Peeled potato and onion half

Peel the potato and onion half.

Grated Potato and Onion
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Potato and onion are grated in to a clean dishtowel

Lay a clean dishtowel over the top of your chopping board and coarsely grate both the potato and onion in to the center with a hand grater. Try breathing only through your mouth to help prevent the onion making your eyes water if you usually find this to be a problem. Sit the grater aside and gather up the sides of the dishtowel to fully enclose the grated vegetables. At your sink, twist the dishtowel tightly at the bottom and squeeze out as much water as you can from the potato and onion. Spend a half minute or so doing this several times for best ultimate results.

Potato Rosti Ingredients
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Potato rosti ingredients are added to a mixing bowl

Put the potato and onion in to a large bowl, scraping as much of it as you can off the dishtowel. Break in the egg and spoon in the flour. Season with salt and pepper.

Potato Rosti Batter
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Potato rosti batter ingredients are stirred together

Stir the rosti batter ingredients well. You want a thick consistency that will hold together when it is spooned in to the frying pan. If the batter is too thin, add a little more flour. If it is by any chance too thick, add a splash of milk.

Frying Tuna
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Seasoned tuna fillet is added to frying pan

Put the remaining couple of tablespoons of oil in to a large non-stick frying pan and bring the pan up to a high heat. Season the tuna fillet on both sides with salt and pepper and lay it carefully in to the pan.

Turned Tuna
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Tuna fillet is turned to fry on its second side

After a couple of minutes, turn the tuna fillet to fry for a similar period of time on the second side.

Resting Tuna
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Fried tuna is lifted to a heated plate to rest

Lift the tuna to a heated plate and cover with foil to let it rest.

Frying Rostis
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Potato rosti batter is spooned in to frying pan

A tablespoon is best used to spoon the rosti batter in three equal amounts in to the still hot pan. A plastic spatula can then be used to shape them but they are best left a little bit rugged and rustic around the edges.

Turned Rostis
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Potato rostis are turned in frying pan

After three minutes frying on a medium heat, turn the rostis carefully with your spatula to fry for three further minutes on the second side.

Draining Rostis
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Potato rostis are briefly drained on kitchen paper

Lift the rostis to a plate covered with kitchen paper to briefly drain.

Rostis and Salsa
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Salsa is spooned on to plated rostis

Lay the rostis at equidistant intervals on your serving plate. Add a couple of teaspoons of the salsa on to the top of each one.

Tuna on Salsa and Rostis
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Tuna pieces are laid on salsa and rostis

The tuna should separate virtually at a touch in to large natural flakes. Lay a couple of slices on top of each rosti and salsa combination for immediate service.