Toasted Fennel Crusted Tuna with Rioja Red Wine Sauce, Caramelized Baby Onions and Braised Fennel

  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Total: 50 min
  • Prep: 15 min
  • Cook: 35 min


Rioja Red Wine Sauce:

1 cup port

2 cups Rioja red wine

1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon honey

3/4 cup olive oil

Lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Pearl Onions:

1/2 cup water

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

10 red pearl onions, scored, blanched and peeled

10 white pearl onions, scored, blanched and peeled

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Lemon juice


1/4 cup whole fennel seeds

Salt and freshly ground pepper

4 tuna fillets, 5 to 6 ounces each

2 tablespoons olive oil

Chopped fresh parsley

Braised Fennel:

1 head fennel, quartered

Olive oil, to cook

1/2 cup white wine

1 cup vegetable stock

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


  1. For the Rioja Red Wine Sauce: Place port, wine, sugar and honey in a medium stainless steel saucepan and cook over high heat until reduced to 1/4 cup, let cool. Place reduced liquid in a blender and with the motor running, add oil until emulsified. Season with lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
  2. For the Pearl Onions: Place water, butter and sugar in a medium saucepan and cook until the butter and sugar is melted. Add onions and cook over high heat until the water has evaporated and the onions are cooked through and caramelized. Season with salt and pepper and lemon juice.
  3. For the Tuna: Heat a small saute pan over high heat. Add the fennel seeds and toast for 1 to 2 minutes. Place the seeds in a coffee grinder and grind until coarsely chopped. Season the tuna with salt and pepper to taste on both sides. Dredge 1 side of each fillet in the fennel seeds. Heat the oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Saute the tuna, fennel-side down until golden brown 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the fish over and continue cooking for 1 minute for rare doneness. Drizzle the fish with Rioja sauce and parsley. Serve with caramelized onions and braised fennel.
  4. For the Braised Fennel: Brown fennel in olive oil in medium pan. Deglaze pan with wine and stock. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and braise until tender.
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3 Reviews


Yummy! I had some fennel and was looking for something to do with it. This recipe caught my eye. More work than I normally want to put into dinner, but it was well worth the effort. I just used regular red wine for the sauce, so don't know if it made a big difference, but it was phenomenal. Definitely a keeper.

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