Grilling aficionado Steven Raichlen first tasted this grilled tuna dish – or one very similar to it – at a one-star Michelin restaurant “on the end of a barely inhabited island located a few miles off the Côte d’Azur.” The sauce accompanying the tuna dates from an early seafaring civilization: the Phoenicians. (Click here to see the featured recipe.)
“According to local lore, the red wine, olive, and caper sauce known as raïto originated in Greece and was brought to Massilia (as Marseilles was known in ancient times) by Phoenician sailors,” Raichlen writes in his classic The Barbecue! Bible (Workman Publishing, 2008), where the recipe appears.
Provence apparently is the only place in France where you can find this sauce, which goes by various names including rayte and raïte. “Whatever its origins,” Raichlen adds, “it’s a sauce richly rooted in the Mediterranean, with a deep flavor that goes well with grilled tuna.” (Click here to see the featured recipe.)
To begin, the tuna is brushed with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper; it then marinates in the fridge for 30 minutes.
For the raïto, onion and garlic are sautéed in extra virgin olive oil. Chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, red wine, thyme, bay leaf, olives, and capers are added and simmered until the sauce is reduced by half. Additional olive oil is stirred into the sauce, along with salt and pepper to taste. Our Miller’s Blend or Arbosana oils would pair well with the flavors in this dish.
Grill the tuna steaks until cooked to taste, and serve each with a topping of raïto. Then, tuck into this dish, knowing that you’ll be experiencing culinary history!
Your friends at California Olive Ranch