Chef's Recipes

Tuna carpaccio “la zingara”

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for tuna carpaccio “la zingara” by Melbourne's Mezzo Bar & Grill.

By Joseph Vargetto
  • Serves 4
  • 45 mins preparation
  • 5 mins cooking plus cooling
Tuna carpaccio “la zingara”
Tuna carpaccio “la zingara”

“I celebrated my birthday at Melbourne’s Mezzo Bar & Grill and the tuna carpaccio was special. Would chef Joseph Vargetto share the recipe?”
Aimee Glenn, St Kilda, Vic

To request a recipe, write to Fare Exchange, , GPO Box 4088, Sydney, NSW 2001, or email us. All requests should include the restaurant’s name and address or business card, as well as your name and address.


  • 400 gm piece of sashimi-grade tuna loin
  • 1 Roma tomato, finely diced
  • ½ Lebanese cucumber, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 avocado, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp finely grated bottarga, optional, to serve (see note)
Spice mix
  • 2 star anise
  • 1¼ tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cardamom pods
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds
  • ¼ tsp fennel seeds
Green chilli paste
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 cup each baby spinach leaves and flat-leaf parsley (firmly packed)
  • 50 ml lemon-infused olive oil
  • 2 long green chillies, seeds removed, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped


  • 1
    For spice mix, combine ingredients in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and finely crush, then set aside.
  • 2
    For green chilli paste, dry-roast coriander seeds and cumin seeds until fragrant (30 seconds-1 minute), process with remaining ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Paste will keep refrigerated for 5 days in an airtight container.
  • 3
    Trim tuna to a 5cm square (reserve trimmings) and refrigerate until required. Finely dice trimmings and combine in a bowl with tomato and cucumber, add chilli paste to taste, season to taste, then refrigerate until required.
  • 4
    Roll tuna loin in spice mix, pressing to coat. Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan over high heat, then sear tuna (10-20 seconds each side). Remove from heat, cool, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold.
  • 5
    Meanwhile, process avocado and lime juice in a food processor until smooth, season to taste and refrigerate until required.
  • 6
    Divide avocado purée among plates. Thinly slice tuna, brush with olive oil, season to taste. Arrange tuna on avocado, overlapping slices slightly and placing a little tuna mixture between slices. Drizzle with vincotto to taste, scatter with bottarga, sesame seeds and basil and serve.


Bottarga is available from select delicatessens and fish mongers.
This recipe is from the December 2010 issue of

  • Author: Joseph Vargetto