Sweet and Sour Tuna / Tonno all'Agrodolce

Tonno, tuna, along with pesce spada, swordfish, has defined the fishing industry of Sicily, now somewhat diminished from its glory days. Tuna, when it is fresh, needs very little embellishment, but one delicious holdover from the days of Arabic influence in Sicily is tonno all’agrodolce or sweet and sour sauce. Different and refreshing, the balance of sweet and savory is just right in this preparation

Serves 4


  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/4 pounds tuna steak cut into 1-inch chunks
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large white onions cut in thin slices
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup good red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh mint leaves plus whole for garnish
  • Ingredients


  1. Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a paper bag. Add the tuna chunks and shake the bag to coat the fish in the mixture.
  2. Heat 1/2 cup of olive oil in a sauté pan and when it is hot, add the tuna and brown the chunks quickly. As they brown, transfer them to a paper towel lined dish and keep warm
  3. Add the onions to the pan and more oil if the pan seems dry. Cook the onions over medium heat until they soften and begin to brown. Sprinkle the sugar over the onions and continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Raise the heat to high and stir in the vinegar.  Stir, allowing the vinegar to evaporate. Season the onions with salt and pepper to taste. Mix in the mint.
  4. Spread the onion mixture out on a serving platter. Place the tuna chunks on top and serve with extra virgin olive oil on the side.
  5. Variation: Mix the cooked onions with one can of drained and rinsed cannellini or chick peas and heat through, then top with tuna.

This recipe was featured on Season 20 - Episode 2013.

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carol fernandez

Anything that has to do with Jasper white should be yummy. cannot wait to make it. thanks.

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