Marinated Tuna Recipe

Marinated Tuna Recipe. Image credit: Unsplash

Marinated tuna on samphire, a dish that encapsulates umami

With a delicate dish such as this, it is very important to get the balance of the flavours just right to hit that perfect umami sweet spot.

Marinated Tuna Recipe

Marinated Tuna Recipe. Image credit: Unsplash

This recipe encapsulates the Japanese term of umami. The sweetness of the plum wine, the piquant flavours of the pickled ginger and the richness of the tuna loin, combine to create a tuna dish that can be simply eaten raw or flash grilled for added flavours.

What is samphire you may wonder? Samphire is a salty leaf with a crisp texture. Can’t get your hands on samphire for this tuna dish? That’s okay, you can always substitute this for asparagus.

Marinated tuna on samphire

5 from 3 votes
Recipe by Grant Hawthorne Course: Dinner


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This dish depends on a delicate balance of flavours. It is essential that the fish used is of the best.


  • 500 g Tuna

  • Marinade
  • 40 g Dijon Mustard

  • 40 g Crushed Garlic

  • 20 g Cracked White Pepper

  • 150 g Pickled Ginger (roughly chopped)

  • 40 g Chopped Chives

  • 500 ml Soy sauce

  • 200 ml Olive oil

  • 300 ml Lemon juice

  • 200 ml Mirin (Sweet Japanese Sake)

  • 200 ml Plum wine

  • 500 g Asparagus


  • Mix the marinade with a whisk, till the emulsion forms. Pour liberally over the tuna, ensuring the pieces are well coated. Refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hours (prior to use) and a maximum of 72 hours.
  • Drain the tuna from the marinade. Heat a pan till smoking hot (high heat). Lightly grease the pan with a little olive oil and flash fry. This does create a lot of smoke and flame… but it’s necessary for the flavours to be encouraged.
  • Remove from pan, rest for 1 minute and carve into escalopes.
  • Serve immediately astride a salad, or if you require something more substantial, a stir-fry of vegetables, with Udon noodles or (when in season) some sauté Sea Asparagus (Samphire), which have been tossed with toasted flaked almonds.
  • It works extremely well when accompanied by a Thai lemongrass and galangal froth.
  • Garnish with fresh lime wedges.


  • The tuna should be deep in color, preferably Sashimi-grade, and not targeting the endangered list. The Western Australia Rudder Fish would be my personal recommendation, for taste, visual impact, texture, and flavor.
  • The serving style is simple, informal with a slight emphasis on stacking for height and visual appeal.
  • Over many years that I have served this dish, I have rarely given out the recipe, as it’s a signature dish that I’ve taken with me through all my kitchens both here and abroad. Recently I have given it out to a few people and had it published locally.
  • The recommended liquid accompaniment would be a simple Chenin Blanc or a light Pinot Noir.

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