Tuna Basquaise

Hello everybody!

Summer is here in Toronto and we’ve been enjoying (or suffering?) really hot days lately so it made me think of the South of France and especially the South-West! South-western France is one of my favorite places because it has amazing landscapes since it has the advantage of being near the ocean and the food is delicious!

As this is the South, most recipes are made with sunny vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, etc. and because of the proximity of the ocean they also eat a lot of delicious seafood. This recipe is a traditional and popular Basque recipe made with tuna steaks coated with a flavorful tomato and pepper sauce. You can use chicken as well for this recipe if you prefer.

As I mentioned in my blog story about French pantries, the South-West of France uses a special spicy pepper to give flavor to their dishes which is called “piment d’espelette” (Espelette pepper). I have a hard time finding it in Toronto but I did find it online so if you want to make the real recipe you can use this pepper. If you don’t have it, don’t worry! You can simply replace it with cayenne pepper or chili powder.

Tuna basquaise is one of my favorite recipes because it’s simple, has gorgeous colors and I love the flavor of this dish. The sauce is rich thanks to the tomatoes and peppers, and the shallots, garlic and wine bring an amazing flavor to the dish. One other thing I love is that simmering the tuna in the sauce for an hour makes it very tender which I never get when I cook tuna usually as it always turns out very dry.


  • 2 tuna steaks (about 600 g)
  • 750 g canned tomatoes
  • 4 shallots
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 3 bell peppers
  • 100 ml white wine
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • Thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp Espelette pepper (or cayenne or chili powder)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


1- Peel the garlic cloves and shallots and dice them thinly. Wash the bell peppers and remove the stems and seeds as well any white parts. Slice the peppers and dice them in small pieces.

2- Strain the canned tomatoes and reserve the juice/sauce on the side. Dice the tomatoes and reserve on the side.

3- Heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pot on medium heat. Add in the shallots and diced peppers and cook for a couple minutes. Add in the diced tomatoes, garlic and the juice/sauce strained from the can. Cook for a couple minutes and then add a few branches of thyme, bay leaves, Espelette pepper (or cayenne or chili if you don’t have) and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well, cover and let it simmer on low heat.

4- In a deep pan, heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Add the tuna steaks and season with salt and pepper. Cook for a couple minutes, just to sear each side.

5- Add in the white wine and wait until it boils. Then add the tomato and pepper sauce. Cover with a lid and let it simmer for 1h on low heat. Then serve and enjoy!

Tuna basquaise is a very popular dish from the South-West of France that is very easy to make and so flavorful. It is best served with some basmati rice on the side.

tuna basquaise recipeI hope you will enjoy this recipe! Let me know in the comment section what you think about this recipe and if you liked it.

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