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Elena’s Marinated Tuna

Pragmatic recipe
Elena's marinated tuna

Elena's Marinated Tuna

Elena’s marinated tuna recipe is unique. The simplicity and matter-of-factness make it an outstanding dish. As it often goes in the Italian -and even more in the Sicilian- cuisine. Not adding is more important than adding. The absolute star is the tuna. No side-shows, no antagonists. At least not when preparing the dish. Once ready, it can be served in countless ways. 

  • Prep Time 15 Minutes
  • Cook Time 1500 Minutes
  • Total Time 1515 Minutes
  • Serves 4 People
  • Calories 150 kcal


  • 400 grams of tuna
  • 140 grams of sea salt
  • 60 grams of caster sugar
  • 40 grams of dark unprocessed cane sugar
  • 10 crushed red pepper grains


  1. Freeze the fillet for at least 48 hours
  2. Let the tuna thaw completely and dry it thoroughly
  3. Mix the caster and cane sugar, avoiding lumps
  4. Rub the mixture in the fillet
  5. Spread the remaining mixture on a try
  6. Position your tuna fillet in the tray and cover
  7. Let it rest in the fridge for 12 hours
  8. Remove the liquid from the tray
  9. Turn the fillet and let it rest for another 12 hours
  10. Rinse the fillet with tap water
  11. Dry Elena's marinated tuna with a kitchen towel
  12. Slice the fillet just before serving


Elena's marinated tuna is a wonderful recipe. And the success lays in details. The cut of tuna will determine the outcome. Leaner cuts have a subtle taste, while fattier cuts will result more explicit. This is a personal choice. Elena advices to use the middle abdomen for a fillet. The salt used in this recipe is fine sea salt from Mothia. The reason? It is local salt.  Instead of slicing the marinated tuna, you can turn it into a tartare. In that case Elena recommends to go easy on the seasoning. A drizzle of olive oil, some capers.  What do you drink with such a refined dish? Rosato del dottore is an Etna wine made of Nerello Mascalese grapes. The minerality of the wine balances well with the saltiness of the dish. And yes, you may serve this with mayonnaise. A seasoned mayo that is.

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