Seared tuna with spinach and a sortof caponata

I have fallen in love again. Head over heels. The latest victim of my affections makes me feel so young and alive. I’m sorry for sounding smug and I know this must be sickening to read. But you can have this too if you want; it’s not hard. In fact, you can buy it for £10 at Lilywhites. You see I recently purchased this backpack and it has totally revolutionised my life. At first, I was a little shy about it. I haven’t ever been a “backpacker”, in all senses of the word. But now I just want to stand in Piccadilly Circus with it and watch the world go by… Oh wait, I already have. See.

Reasons why I love the backpack:

  • It’s an Arsenal backpack. My hygienist is a Gooner. She was a lot nicer to me than usual today.
  • It’s lighter than carrying around leather and more animal-friendly.
  • It can carry loads.
    • Examples of things in my backpack today (and reasons why I’ve included them in this post):
      • A hairbrush (makes me seem well groomed)
      • Dental floss (clean)
      • Passport (young)
      • House keys (stable and not homeless)
      • A book (smart)
      • Cryptic crossword (really smart – notice the cryptic)
      • A tenner (loaded)
      • A lemon (quietly exotic)
      • Tuna fillet (kooky)

I’ve just realised this list probably isn’t exhaustive because otherwise all it would take me to fall in love is for the person to make my hygienist nice to me, not be made of leather and carry lots. Hmmm.

Anyway, so I was carrying around this tuna and about an hour ago I thought that maybe I should eat it or put it in the fridge. For me, the conundrum of “do I eat this or shall I put it back in the fridge?” is always pretty easily solved. Today was no exception. So I knocked up tuna with a caper-aubergine-tomato-gloop (a sort of riff on the traditional caponata) and some spinach. I thought it was pretty delicious and exactly the type of food I love to eat in the summer when I’m super hungry but don’t want to feel too full. If you’re making this in the evening or for boys I would put some baby roast potatoes in the oven with plenty of rosemary and salt and maybe a few roast cherry tomatoes as well.

Ingredients (serves 2)

For the tuna
2 tuna fillets (the thicker the better)
A large pinch of salt
1 tbsp of olive oil (not extra virgin)
1 grind pepper
For the spinach
6 large handfuls of spinach
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small squeeze lemon
A small pinch of salt
A good grind of pepper
For the caponata
1 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp water
1 aubergine
4 tomatoes (deseeded)
2 heaped tbsp capers
1 small bunch of basil
2 garlic cloves
⅓ lemon (juice)
A small pinch of salt
A good grind of pepper
1 lug of extra virgin olive oil


  • Start by making the caponata. Chop the tomatoes and aubergine into 1cmx1cm cubes.
  • Get a small frying pan hot and add the tbsp of olive oil.
  • Crush in the garlic. Wait for 30 seconds then add the aubergine and tomatoes to the pan.
  • After 1 minute add the water. Then put on the lid and simmer for 3 minutes.
  • Add the capers and take lid off. Keep cooking, stirring regularly. If the mixture dries out add more water.
  • Meanwhile, get a large pan for the spinach and place over a medium flame. Add the oil then when hot add the spinach. Stir for a minute, then add the water. Leave over a medium flame to simmer off the water. Should be about 4 minutes.
  • Get a large pan hot to the point of smoking and add 1 tbsp of olive oil. Salt both sides of the tuna fillets then add to the pan. Cook for 20 seconds on each side.
  • The caponata should be done cooking by now. When it has finished cooking add the lemon, basil, salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil.
  • When the spinach has finished cooking add the extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon.
  • Season the fish.
  • Assemble the caponata, spinach and fish – then serve!

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