This is perhaps the ultimate fish barbecue dish. It’s incredibly quick to prepare; you just season the tuna, and slap it on the grill. The salsa is made in minutes and is possibly the most gorgeous-looking summer side dish you will ever see, as well as tasting incredible. There’s crunchy cucumber for texture, creamy avocado, ripe, juicy mango, and a hit of flavour from chilli, basil, mint and lots of lime.
We don’t put enough fish on our barbecues. It’s a sad fact that when the sun comes out for those few days each year, we head for the supermarket barbecue selection, for the same old sausages, burgers and, if were lucky, maybe something as exotic as a lamb kofta skewer or a chicken satay stick.
Yet fish has so much to offer in the world of hot coals. It’s healthier. It’s far quicker to cook than chicken or sausages, and with less risk if it’s still slightly rare in the middle. It has the wow factor, a bunch of fresh, glistening sardines sitting astride the searing rungs of the grill are far more likely to cause conversation than the usual meaty suspects.
Oily fish take best to the barbecue treatment, because they can stand up to the sort of assertive flavourings that work best with chargrilled protein. Mackerel, sardines, salmon and tuna are all excellent seared over hot charcoal, and all the more so when accompanied by a zingy, vibrant, fresh salsa or salad.
You could go wild with seasoning, if you like, maybe using some Cajun-style cumin and coriander, or some smoked paprika, but it’s delicious with just salt and pepper, allowing the tuna to show off. If you’re making this in June or July, try and get your hands on Alphonso or Pakistani mangoes from Asian grocers, they’re a world away from supermarket mangoes, with a sublime perfumed sweetness that is excellent in this salsa.
If you don’t have a barbecue or the weather isn’t playing nice, fear not: this can be made just as well using a hot griddle pan, and you’ll still get those attractive char marks on your tuna steak. The recipe below serves one, because this is exactly the sort of dish I love to make for myself when it’s just me: simple, quick, but amazingly enjoyable to eat. That said, it’s also great for a crowd for those very reasons, so next time the sun is out and you’re feeling summery, swap your burgers for a pescatarian barbecue feast. And don’t forget the Pimms, of course.