Recipe: Tuna steak with Bronte-pistachio crust

Green, full-figured, smooth, tempting. I am not talking about the green witch of Wicked, my favourite West-End Musical. I am talking about pistachios: the king of nuts. They are so versatile you can make a whole menu out of them: starters, sauce for pasta (e.g. pistachio pesto), meat or fish and several types of desserts! I have been obsessed with pistachios since I was a little kid, and nowadays pistachio ice cream is still my favourite flavour.

When I had to pick the menu for Christmas eve dinner, the only limitations I has were: no meat (traditionally you do not eat meat on Christmas Eve in Italy as a type of fasting, while waiting to celebrate Christmas) and special (the menu of Christmas Eve has to include original  dishes you will remember). We had pistachios my sister brought back from Sicily last summer. We love fish.

Going through old and new recipes, we found this tuna steak with pistachio crust recipe. It sounded like heaven and it was a no-brainer decision: let’s cook this as secondo (don’t forget in Italy we have at least a 3 course meal: primo (pasta, rice or soup), secondo (meat or fish) and dolce (dessert). Our Christmas Eve dinner was a 7-course meal…but that’s another story!). The version I propose you here is our personalised recipe, with some additions to the original recipe we found.

tuna steak with pistachios



Ingredients (4 people): 600g frest tuna (1 large steak) – 150g of Bronte pistachios – 7 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil – 1 teaspoon of soy-sauce – 10 basil leavessalt – 100g lamb’s lettuce (corn-salad , valeriana; or any other salad)

Time: 20-25 min

Preparation: Grind the pistachios (either using a mortar, placing them in a plastic bag and braking them with a little kitchen hammer or spoon or simply using a grinder) leaving them in coarse pieces (2-4mm large). If the pistachios are unsalted, season them with fine salt. Finely chop 10 basil leaves and add them to the pistachios. Place them in a large dish.

Delicately dry the tuna steak with a kitchen towel; it will avoid the . Place the steak on a dish and pour on it 3 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil and 1 teaspoon of soy-sauce. Use the hands to distribute the oil and soy-sauce all around the steak till it’s fully covered.

Place the oiled tuna steak in the large dish with the pistachio and basil. Gently press both sides of the steak so that the pistachios and basil will more easily stick to the tuna steak.

recipe, cooking tuna steak with pistachios

Heat a frying pan and add 4 tablespoon of olive oil. When hot, cook the tuna steak on it, 4 minutes on each side; this will seal the steak and create a nicely roasted, golden, crunchy crust. If you prefer the steak to be slightly more cooked, and if can manage to be gentle and not let the pistachio crust fall from the steak, you can cook also each side of the tuna steak for 1 minute.

Cut the tuna steak on a choppind board in large (1.5cm) slices. It should be cooked outside and raw and soft inside.

Arrange the lettuce on a large dish to form a bed for the tuna steak. Arrange the tuna slices on the salad and serve!

tuna steak with pistachios

I love this recepy for the simple but powerful flavours of basil and pistachios, that enhance the smooth flavour of the tuna. The crunchy pistachios perfectly contrast the tenderness of the fish: the result is an incredibly delicious dish that literally melts in your mouth. I hope you will like it as much as we did. And I am looking forward to hearing from you after you tried it. Buon appetito!


Pistachios from Bronte are the best pistachios I have ever tried. They are certified pistachios that only grow in Sicily, near the Etna Volcano, and are characterised by an intense flavour and a dark emerals colour. For this dish, you can use any other type of pistachios if you can’t find the Bronte ones.

– do not overcook the tuna, or it will become more dry and the tenderness of the raw core will be lost. Also, do not cook each side of the steak more than once: once the steak has been flipped, you can not cook that side again, or that side will externally overcook and bocome either chewy or too dry and hard.

– Even if the tuna is partially raw, this dish can be store in the fridge for one day. It will not lose neither flavour nor fragrance. Be sure though you serve it at environment temperature to better taste the flavours of the ingredients.

– You can add any side dish, as for example mashed potatoes. The only recomendation is to be sure the flavours and texture of any of the ingredients you add will not overpower the tuna steak delicate flavours.


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