Tuna with crust and mojo sauce

Tuna with crust and mojo sauce
Chef: Juan Mari Arzak
Country: España
City: 20015 San Sebastián (Guipúzcoa)
Address: Avda. José Elosegui, 273
(+ 34) 943285593

Juan Mari Arzak has always favored the great fish and shellfish, with the exception of cod, that make up the classical base of Basque cuisine. He has worked avidly with hake, spider crab, baby squid…and tuna. Foods with which he has achieved inspiring results, recreating ancestral flavors with spectacular style brimming with sophistication.
During the summer months, from June to October, he offers three extraordinary dishes. The most legendary is the belly filet with winter savory and mint-flavored bones. In 2004 he has incorporated the exquisite and delectable tuna salad with smoked potatoes, arugula, chard leaves, barley and chard sauce and olive and coffee sauce. This prizewinning composition exudes originality with flavors as strong and distinct as they are harmonious. His greatest triumph is in his sauces. First is his gherkin sauce—fresh, vibrant, fine, greenish in color and remarkable for the inclusion of melon juice, parsley and bread in addition to the gherkins. Second, and without taking anything away from the sensational first (we are forced to compare the main sauce to it), is the thick sauce served as a crust for the fish. The sauce is prepared with the fried ground tuna skins, onion blackened without turning bitter, almonds, tomatoes, bread, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. The product is a light paste spooned onto the plate. The sauce is applied to both sides of the tuna and lightly sprinkled with finely ground peanuts. It is seared and served raw and hot on the inside, “singed” on the outside.

The Recipe

Tuna with crust and sauce

For 4 people

For the Tuna skin sauce

  • 30g bread
  • 1 tomato
  • 2 young onions
  • 60g Bonito skins (black)
  • 200g olive oil, 0.4º
  • 70g fried almonds
  • 20g balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and sugar

For the Tuna belly filets:

  • 600g Bonito (150g/serving)
  • Salt and ginger

For the onions with melon:

  • 2 medium young onions
  • 100g melon
  • Olive oil, 0.4º

For the gherkin broth

  • 10g parsley
  • 70g pickled gherkins (drained)
  • 1/2l water
  • 60g olive oil, 0.4º
  • 15g bread
  • Salt

For the red pepper oil:

  • 10g red peppercorns
  • 60g olive oil, 0.4º


For the Bonito skin sauce:
Slice the tomato and sauté in the pan with a bit of oil. In another pan, fry the Bonito skins with half the oil until crispy. Drain well.
Mix all of the ingredients together. Puree and strain. Season.

For the Bonito belly filets:

Cut the Bonito filet into rectangles (2 per serving). One of the rectangles should be slightly larger than the other. Lightly smoke the Bonito rectangles for 4 minutes in a smoker. Once smoked, season, brush with the sauce and grill in the pan so that the filets remain moist.


For the onions with melon:

Peal and halve the onions. Remove the interior of the onions, leaving only the outer layer.
Using a scooper, make four melon balls and insert them into the onions. Caramelize the ensemble well in a pan. Season.

For the gherkin broth:

Mix all of the ingredients together and puree. Strain and season.

For the red pepper oil:

Rub the red peppercorns well against each other. Separate the skins and mix them with the oil. Set aside.


Arrange the Bonito rectangles vertically in the center of the plate. Using a tube, draw circles of sauce next to the Bonito. Place the onion inside the circles.
Lightly drizzle the Bonito rectangles with the pepper oil. Serve the hot broth on the side in a small glass to accompany the dish.