Tuna carpaccio with fennel and lemon

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Theo says: 'Popularised by Japanese cuisine, raw tuna is often served as a wonderful sashimi with soy and wasabi. In this Mediterranean version, the anchovies, capers and fennel provide heaps of flavour. It makes a perfect starter for a dinner party as you can plate the tuna well in advance, cover with cling film and refrigerate until your guests are seated. Then, when you’re ready to serve, finish off with the sliced fennel, anchovies and capers. I’ve always thought the secret to a successful dinner party is to make it as effortless as possible.'

This recipe is taken from The Italian Deli Cookbook by Theo Randall (£26, Quadrille). Photography by Lizzie Mason.

First published in 2021





With a sharp knife, cut the tuna into thin slices – don’t worry if the slices are uneven, just cut them and divide the slices equally between 4 plates. Cover each plate with a sheet of baking parchment and push down on each with your fingertips to press the tuna slices into an even thickness
Place the anchovies in a bowl with the capers, lemon juice and olive oil
Trim the green fronds from the fennel bulb, then strip away the outer leaves and discard. Cut the fennel bulb in half. With the cut sides of the fennel bulb downwards on a chopping bard, shave thin slices of fennel using a sharp knife. Place these in the bowl with the anchovies, capers, lemon juice and olive oil. Mix together to combine
Remove the baking parchment from the plates of tuna and divide the fennel mixture equally between each plate. (Don’t clean the bowl at this stage.) Remove the outer leaves of the baby gem (reserve for another time) to leave you with the crisp heart. Cut away the base to release the leaves and place these in the bowl that contained the fennel mixture. Stir the leaves through the residual dressing in the bowl and then place a few on each plate. Finish with a grinding of black pepper and serve with toasted sourdough

With Theo Randall’s career including experience in some of London’s most prestigious locations as well as Chez Panisse in California, it’s vital to note that – prior to opening up his own first solo venture – he secured his reputation as head chef at The River Cafe.

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