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Seared Tuna with Fennel Seeds & Caper Brown Butter

Scott Phillips

Servings: four.



  • 1-1/2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. capers, drained, coarsely chopped if large
  • 6 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into six pieces
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 4 1-inch-thick tuna steaks (6 to 8 oz. each)
  • 1 Tbs. fennel seeds, crushed
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size based on four servings
  • Calories (kcal) : 600
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 290
  • Fat (g): 33
  • Saturated Fat (g): 16
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10
  • Cholesterol (mg): 220
  • Sodium (mg): 400
  • Carbohydrates (g): 2
  • Fiber (g): 1
  • Protein (g): 72


  • Put the lemon juice and capers in a 1-qt. heatproof measuring cup. Bring the butter and cream to a brisk simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat, whisking often. The mixture will look homogenous at first and then will separate and begin to turn golden brown. Continue to whisk until it turns a dark rust color, about 10 minutes total. Carefully pour the brown butter mixture into the lemon juice; the butter will boil up and sputter. Whisk to combine and return to the saucepan, off the heat.
  • Sprinkle the tuna on both sides with the fennel seeds, salt, and pepper. Heat the oil in a 10- to 12-inch heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Sear the tuna on both sides until done to your liking, about 2 minutes per side for medium rare (still raw in the middle) or 3 minutes per side for medium (just pink in the middle). Transfer the tuna to plates. If necessary, quickly reheat the sauce. Serve the tuna drizzled with the sauce.

This tuna is delicious sprinkled with fresh parsley, and it pairs well with roasted fennel.


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Reviews (1 review)

  • LoreleiDA | 06/14/2018

    Cousin loves deep-sea fishing and gifted us unexpectedly with a massive slab of fresh tuna, which was absolutely phenomenal for this recipe. This assembled easily, with fairly common ingredients (the fennel seed I had on hand from making some pork shoulder earlier in the year), so it was perfect for an impressive last-minute dish. At my family's request I cooked the fish all the way through, and the fennel/salt/pepper crust was still fantastic. I doubled up on the brown butter ingredients so that it could be slathered over the tuna and some fresh steamed asparagus, and that was also a hit.

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