Pan-seared tuna rubbed generously with spices and fresh lime served on a bed of smoked eggplant, olives and tomato.






Skill level

Average: 4.1 (15 votes)


  • 600 g piece albacore or yellowfin tuna
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 3 tsp sumac
  • 1 lime, finely grated rind
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • lime wedges, to serve


  • 2 eggplants, each pierced with a fork 4-5 times
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 bunch parsley, leaves finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ¼ cup dried black olives, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


  1. For the mutabal, prick the eggplants with a fork 4–5 times, then place on a stove top burner over a high flame and cook, turning regularly until the skin is charred. Once the skin is charred, place into a bowl of cold water to cool. Once cooled, removed from water, cut off the stalk and peel the eggplants. Place in a sieve over a bowl to remove excess water. Remove any dark seeds as they’re quite bitter (don’t worry if the seeds are small or white). Tear the smoked eggplant into thin strips and place in a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well to combine.
  2. Cut the tuna into 4 even slices. Combine the fennel, sumac, lime rind, salt and pepper on a plate. Coat the tuna on all sides with the mix.  
  3. Place the olive oil into a large frying pan over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes or until very hot before gently adding the tuna. Cook on all sides for 1 minute or until just seared on the outside. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towel. Stand for 1-2 minutes to rest.
  4. To serve, slice each portion diagonally across so that you’re able to fan out the slices. Serve on top the mutabal with lime wedges on the side.


Adam Liaw cooks, laughs, and explores culture with some of Australia's most beloved in The Cook Up With Adam Liaw.

Photography by Adam Liaw.