Fresh tuna is at its best when still very pink in the centre. When overcooked, the dense, meaty fish becomes heavy and dry (although some people like it this way). Seared quickly so it's rare to medium-rare, the texture is similar to a well-marbled steak. Tuna Nicoise (pictured) This salad is usually made with canned tuna but it tastes better with fresh. Instead of flavourless large tomatoes, use small, sweet varieties - imported cherry tomatoes or the tiny, pear-shaped local versions. 2 thick tuna steaks, about 250 grams each 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 4 large eggs 8 small new potatoes Oil for the pan 200 grams fresh haricots verts, ends trimmed 12 small tomatoes, halved 1 red pepper, cut in strips 1/4 cup unpitted black olives 1-2 heads curly leaf or red leaf lettuce, rinsed and dried 1/2 small red onion, sliced in thin rings Anchovies in oil (optional) 2 tbsp capers, rinsed and blotted dry Fresh herbs of choice Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper Vinaigrette dressing: 2 tsp Dijon mustard 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil A pinch of sugar 1 shallot, minced 1 small clove of garlic, peeled and minced Chopped fresh herbs of your choice (basil, parsley, thyme, oregano, chives) Salt and freshly ground black pepper Rub the extra virgin olive oil into the tuna steaks and refrigerate for at least an hour. Whisk together all the ingredients for the vinaigrette, season with salt and pepper and set aside. Boil the potatoes until tender but still firm - do not overcook. Just before removing the potatoes from the heat, add the haricots verts to the pan and blanch for 15 seconds. Drain and run under cold water. Separate the haricots verts from the potatoes. Place the eggs in a saucepan that holds them in one layer. Cover with cold tap water then bring to the boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat, cover with the lid and leave for 10 minutes. Plunge the eggs into a bowl of ice water and peel when cool. Heat a heavy pan and oil it lightly. Sprinkle the steaks with salt and freshly ground black pepper. When the pan is very hot, sear the tuna briefly - for a minute to 90 seconds on each side. Remove from the pan and place on a cutting board. Lay the lettuce leaves flat on a large platter. Cut the potatoes in wedges and the tuna in thick slices. Separately toss the haricots verts, potatoes and fish in vinaigrette and arrange on the leaves, then scatter with the red peppers, tomatoes, onion, olives and capers. Cut the eggs into quarters and arrange randomly. Cut anchovy fillets in half lengthwise and lie them across the salad, then sprinkle everything with fresh herbs, flakes of sea salt and black pepper. Serves four. Tuna Tartare For this and all other raw food preparations, it is essen-tial to take care with the ingredients and handle them correctly to avoid food poisoning. Use only the freshest tuna from a reputable shop, don't leave it unrefrigerated for long and use clean knives and cutting boards. Pink peppercorns are not essential but add crunch. 500 grams top quality fresh tuna 1/3 cup finely minced spring onions 1 scant tsp finely grated fresh ginger 1 tsp wasabi paste, or to taste 3 tbsp light soy sauce 3/4 tsp pure Chinese sesame oil Freshly ground black pepper 1 tbsp pink peppercorns (optional) 4 quail eggs, yolk only (optional) Coarse sea salt Toasted bread, cut in triangles Use a sharp knife to finely mince the tuna. Stir the wasabi paste with the soy sauce and sesame oil, then mix into the tuna along with the spring onions, ginger, black pepper and pink peppercorns. Taste for seasoning and adjust. Gently shape into four small patties and place onto plates. Make a small indentation in the top of each patty to hold the whole quail. Discard the whites. Break the quail eggs and discard the whites. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve immediately with small triangles of toast. Serves four as an appetiser. Pan-fried tuna with orange-lime salsa Because tuna is quite fatty, it's delicious with light, tangy flavours. This dish is fast and easy. Make the salsa the day before to give the flavours time to blend. You can also marinate the tuna overnight in the fridge. 4 thick pieces of fresh tuna, about 200 grams each 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 1 clove garlic, minced 2 large oranges 2 spring onions, minced 1 large handful of fresh coriander, chopped 2 tbsp fresh lime juice, or to taste 1-2 hot red chillies, or to taste Oil for the pan Salt and freshly ground black pepper Mix the minced garlic with the olive oil and rub all over the tuna. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate for at least an hour and up to overnight in the fridge. Use a sharp serrated knife to cut away the skin, pith and white membrane from the oranges. Cut the flesh of the oranges into rough cubes. Mince the spring onions and chilli and chop the coriander then toss with the oranges (and juice), lime juice, salt and pepper. Taste the salsa - it should be spicy and quite tart but the flavours should be balanced. Refrigerate for at least an hour and up to overnight. Remove the tuna from the fridge and wipe away any garlic sticking to the fish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat a heavy pan and oil lightly. When it's very hot, sear the tuna for about a minute on each side depending on preference. Slice and top with a large spoonful of salsa.