Ahi tuna with fennel and red peppers

Contributed by Preston Maring, MD

Ahi tuna with fennel and red peppers
On Thursday November 17th, Kaiser Permanente hosted the first FoodMed conference along with Healthcare Without Harm, Catholic Healthcare West, and Physicians for Social Responsibility. Growing out of Kaiser Permanente's expanding farmers' market and overall food policy initiatives, 280 people from health care and sustainable agriculture organizations around the country exchanged learning from the past and visions for the future of our food system. Kaiser Permanente is big enough to have a significant impact on our local food system. It's all about linking existing demand with supply. I will write more about this in future market updates. Apropos to this week’s recipe, I had the privilege to speak to an expert in sustainable seafood issues recently. She referred me to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’ Seafood Watch website at www.seafoodwatch.org. Check it out. What we do with our forks on a daily basis affects the broader ecosystem. This week’s recipe features ahi tuna, which meets the criteria on the website. This is low fat, tasty, quick and healthy.

Servings: 2


  • Two 6-oz tuna steaks
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1-1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, cut crosswise into 1/4" slices
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into 1/4" slices
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice


Lightly brush the tuna steaks with olive oil. Crush the fennel seeds and peppercorns with a mortar and pestle (or smash them in a bag with the bottom of a skillet.) Press into both sides of the tuna and let rest. Sauté the fennel in the oil until golden. Add bell pepper and garlic and sauté for about a minute more. Add water and simmer covered for about 10 minutes or until the fennel is tender. Remove the lid and boil until the liquid is almost evaporated. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Keep warmed. In a heavy skillet over moderately high heat, add a little oil and sear the tuna steaks about 2 minutes on each side or until barely pink in the center. Serve with the fennel and red pepper mixture spooned over the steaks.