Sesame Tuna and Pickled Cucumber Salad | Summer with Simon Gault

Tasting a good-quality balsamic that has spent years in barrels is an out-of-this-world experience. It will glide over your tongue as you simultaneously experience a sweetness and a tinge of acidity. The honey-like consistency will ensure all the flavours of oak, cherry and juniper linger as the notes of port and cherry flirt with your senses. I tasted orange balsamic vinegar in Italy and, oh my, if you can get some, seriously, one teaspoon transforms this dish, but if you can’t find any, use the cucumber marinating liquid in its place.


  • ⅓ cup water
  • ⅓ cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 very long cucumber
  • 400g tuna
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ rock melon
  • 250g bocconcini
  • 2 tbsp white sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp black sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp orange balsamic vinegar, to serve
Serves: 6


  1. In a small saucepan, bring the water and cider vinegar to the boil. Remove from the heat, add the honey and orange zest and set aside
    to cool.
  2. Using a potato peeler, slice thin strips of cucumber (avoiding the seeds), place in a bowl and pour over the honey cider vinegar mix. Cover and refrigerate, preferably overnight.
  3. To prepare the tuna, cut into logs and season with salt and pepper on all sides. Take a heavy frying pan and heat the extra virgin olive oil, then sear the tuna for 20 seconds on all sides. Leave to rest while building
    the salad.
  4. Thinly slice the melon like prosciutto and slice the bocconcini balls into four. Carefully slice the tuna. Combine the cucumber and melon, add the tuna and bocconcini, using your hands to gently bring the salad together.
  5. Drizzle the orange balsamic over the salad before serving.

Extracted from Summer with Simon Gault, published by Penguin Random House NZ, RRP $50.00.
Text © Simon Gault, 2019. Photography © Vanessa Lewis, 2019