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Za'atar-Crusted Tuna With Cured Tomatoes and Merguez Vinaigrette

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“I got this recipe from my grandma's "Philadelphia" magazine. It is credited to the "fish master" Chip Roman of Conshohocken's Blackfish restaurant. The tomatoes take 4 hours to cook, which is included in the cook time. They are so delicious. You must use merguez sausage in this dish, which is a lamb sausage. Do not make other sausage substitutions. DH and I, not knowing what merguez was initially, made the dish with chorizo once and it was way too rich and didnt taste anything like how the dish is supposed to, now that I found and tried it with the merguez. The second time I made the dish, I put the tomatoes in the crock pot all day and then finished them in the oven when I got home and was ready to prepare the rest of the dish. Also, the original recipe (as I posted it) calls for 1 cup of za'atar. I found that was way too much for my needs and used about half that amount. The tomatoes are eaten whole as a side accompaniment to the fish.”
4hrs 45mins

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
  2. In a mixing bowl, toss the whole tomatoes with 1/4 cup olive oil, paprika, salt, garlic, 2 Tb shallots, thyme and basil. Spread on a sheet pan and place in oven for 4 hours.
  3. When tomatoes are close to being ready, in a saute pan over medium-high heat, saute sausage until nicely browned (it will crumble as you cook), about 10 minutes.
  4. Remove sausage and set aside.
  5. Drain all but 2 Tb of fat from pan, return pan to medium heat, and add sherry vinegar to deglaze, scraping up browned bits, about 1 minute.
  6. Add 1 Tb olive oil, 1 Tb shallots, capers, and tomato sauce; mix to incorporate, then remove from heat.
  7. Season with salt, pepper, and chives, and return sausage to pan.
  8. Meanwhile, heat a cast iron pan over high heat with canola oil until smoking.
  9. Season tuna with salt and pepper, then roll in za'atar on all sides, until well covered.
  10. Sear tuna, 1 minute on each side, for rare.
  11. Evenly divide tomatoes and tuna among plates and cover with sauce; serve immediately.

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