Sicilian Tuna Steaks in Onion Sauce

"I found this recipe somewhere on the 'net, and it is reported to be a classic dish of the islands off the western coast of Sicily. The onions have a decidedly sweet/sour taste which we love, and that would be super as well on a swordfish steak."
photo by Marie Nixon photo by Marie Nixon
photo by Marie Nixon
photo by Marie Nixon photo by Marie Nixon
Ready In:




  • SAUCE:

  • Saute the onions in olive oil and butter over medium heat in a large skillet.
  • Add salt and cook, stirring until they are limp.
  • Stir in vinegar and sugar, and cook over a slightly lower heat until the vinegar has evaporated.
  • I caution you, the escaping steam will take your breath away so stay well away from the skillet when possible, but do perservere!
  • When vinegar has evaporated, add cayenne or tabasco, mix well and remove from heat.
  • The sauce should still retain the texture of the onions and yet retain enough moisture to be spoonable.
  • Cover and keep warm.
  • TUNA:

  • Over medium heat, add olive oil and bay leaves to a skillet large enough to hold tuna steaks in one layer.
  • When the oil is warm, not hot, add tuna and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Saute 2-3 minutes per side, but this will depend on thickness of steaks and your doneness preference-- we like ours on the rare side.
  • Raise heat, add wine, and cover pan a second or two, just until the wine has stopped steaming.
  • Uncover skillet, cook 30 seconds longer, then transfer tuna to plates.
  • Spoon the onions and sauce over the top of each, and serve.

Questions & Replies

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  1. Marie Nixon
    I loved this recipe. It is company and special occasion worthy. I was thinking to give the finished dish a little more color, sprinkle it with paprika. Other than that, no changes are needed.
  2. llalima
    Very easy to make. Cooking it now. Used balsamic vinegar instead of red. Love balsamic vinegar with onions.
  3. Chef-Boy-I-Be Illin
    I love tuna and am always looking for new ways to prepare this healthy fish. The sauce is what makes this dish! It's absolutely delicious! As the fish was cooking covered in the wine, I added some broccolini to steam alongside it. Served this with a side dish of White Bean Pancetta Salad Recipe #65318 UPDATE: Rather than sauteeing the steaks in olive oil then adding the wine, I poached the steaks in the wine and added a thinly sliced bulb of fennel for a side dish. This method really brought out the taste of the bay leaves and wine in the fish.
  4. SpeechTeachMe
    This was very tasy. A nice combination of ingredients. Thanks for sharing.
  5. mheslep
    Thank you. It was the first time I cooked Tuna steaks. They came out very good. Loved the taste of the onions and tuna. I told my sister about it so I had to sent her a copy.


I am an American married to a Belgian, and have lived in Belgium since December 1999. Cooking is my major hobby. I'm also an avid reader, but I have difficulty finding the time. I love to travel. Since moving to Europe I've been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to go a couple of times per year to Paris, as well as having visited London, Rome, Florence, Naples, Amsterdam, and of course Brussels and Antwerp. I've seen at least parts of most regions of France, as well as parts of Germany, Austria, a great deal of Switzerland, Slovenia, Croatia, Luxembourg, and Monaco. I'm absolutely in love with the Bay of Naples and Sorrento coast areas of Italy, which my husband and I recently re-visited on a trip that included Rome, Puglia, Umbria and Marche. I'm still looking forward to Ireland, Spain, Portugal, the Czech Republic . . . the list is too long ! One of the bonuses of travel is getting to taste the local cuisine, and afterward trying to figure out how to duplicate it at home. I think cooking is one of the nicest things a person can do for someone they love (including themself!) I had to submit a picture with me and my cat, Sophie, as she insists on sitting in my lap when I'm sitting at the computer. If you are wondering what all that stuff hanging on the wall behind us in the photo is, it is just a small part of my husband's military medal collection. He was appalled by my posting this picture-- Our study is the messiest room in our house (thank god!)
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