Make Ahead

Poached Tuna with Warm Squash, Corn, and Potato Salad

July 12, 2021
7 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

You're going to think I'm lazy. And you're right.

I like olive oil, I like vegetables, and I like warm salads. So when I'm not feeling particularly inventive or energetic, I like to throw them all together in a single dish. Vegetables get roasted. Fish gets poached in oil (an old stand-by for me). A squeeze of lemon and a dried chile come in to give everything a kick in the pants. And I have a comforting dinner on the table without much thought or effort.

We like our summer produce at Food52 -- Want us to send you another corn newsletter? Watch out, or we will! -- so I had to get just one more blast of corn and squash in under the wire. Then, soon, I'll behave and start cozying up to apples and cabbage. —Amanda Hesser

What You'll Need
  • 4 ears corn, kernels cut from the cobs
  • Salt
  • Good olive oil
  • 3 medium yellow squash or zucchini, trimmed and each cut lengthwise into 6 wedges
  • 2 medium white potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 pound tuna, cut 1-inch thick (probably 2 pieces)
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
  • 1 dried chile
  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, cut into 4 quarters
  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread the corn on a baking sheet. Season with salt and lightly dress with olive oil, tossing to coat. Spread the squash strips on one half of another baking sheet, and the cubed potatoes on the other half. Also season with salt and dress with oil. Place both baking sheets in the oven and roast until the corn begins to brown (about 15 minutes), and the squash is brown and the potatoes are crisp (about 30 minutes). Remove from the oven and as soon as the squash is cool enough to touch, cut the wedges crosswise into chunks.
  2. Meanwhile, lay the tuna in a single layer in a saucepan that fits it snugly. Wedge the thyme, garlic, and chile wherever they'll fit. Season with tuna with salt, then generously douse the tuna with olive oil -- it should come up about 1/4 inch on the side of the pan. Lift a corner of each piece of tuna and tilt the pan so the oil spreads under the fish as well.
  3. Place the tuna over low heat and gently cook the tuna, spooning the hot oil over the top of the tuna as well -- the oil should never boil. As soon as the fish is half cooked through (5 to 10 minutes), turn the tuna pieces and cook the other side. You want the tuna to be a faint pink in the center when it's done.
  4. While the tuna and vegetables are still warm, it's time to plate the dish! Spoon a bed of potatoes on each plate. Cover with a healthy smattering of squash and corn. Scatter some shallot over the corn and squash. Top with the tuna, broken into pieces. Spoon a little of the tuna cooking oil over the fish and vegetables. Serve with a lemon wedge.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Wendy
  • Adrienne
  • AntoniaJames
  • chefbonandee
  • Scribbles
Amanda Hesser

Recipe by: Amanda Hesser

Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.

14 Reviews

Wendy September 1, 2022
I only rated this recipe with 3 stars not because the bluefin tuna I used didn't come out moist and flavorful, but because the strange grey color the tuna turned in the poaching in oil process. Visually not very appetizing. I also never was able to get the corn to the roasted doneness stated in the recipe by following the oven temp requirements and time. It may be the cook not the recipe that is the problem, but I will skip this one next time.
Laura K. July 12, 2021
Big hit with the family. Used bluefin tuna. Fried four sliced shallots in the oil til golden (drain on paper towel and salt while hot) before adding the fish, which maybe had the oil too hot, but fish came out great the and (strained) poaching oil was delicious drizzled on top along with the fried shallots. Lemon squeeze at the end is crucial!
NXL November 20, 2020
This dish is deliciously, luxuriously decadent. Simple ingredients, subtly flavored. Easy Friday night dinner. I love it!
Amanda H. November 27, 2020
Thanks for letting us know!
Adrienne July 12, 2017
I saved this a while ago and finally made it last night. Perfect use for my farmers market bounty. Can't wait for lunch leftovers!

P.S. Don't omit the shallots. It may seem like a garnish but it's the perfect subtle compliment to the dish.
Amanda H. July 12, 2017
Glad you liked it!
linda June 2, 2017
No tuna on hand soo.. I used a halibut steak. Turned out delish. This is a keeper recipe. Thanks for the inspiration
AntoniaJames November 23, 2016
Made just the tuna, without the salad . . . poached with thyme sprigs and garlic that I removed once garlic became light gold in color. Served the tuna on homemade brioche buns (Tartine Bread, with leaven) fresh from the freezer, lightly toasted, with arugula and one side slathered with a touch of mayo into which I stirred some chopped capers, a dab of Dijon mustard and parsley.
So good we repeated the entire brief, with no changes, for lunch the next day. ;o)
chefbonandee May 3, 2013
Made this for lunch for the boyfriend and I today! It turned out really wonderful. The corn stays ever so slightly crunchy - I'm big on texture variety in my meals, and this had great balance. There was no instruction for the shallot, so I threw the slices into the poaching oil and then spooned them over the plate. My only regret was that I didn't open up the dried chile, so the heat of it didn't get into the oil much. Next time I'll go for a bit more kick. And there WILL be a next time. This one's a keeper.
Amanda H. May 3, 2013
Happy to hear you liked it! The shallot should be thinly sliced (it says this on the ingredient list, but not in the instructions). And I'm glad you pointed out the detail about the chile -- great tip if anyone wants more heat. Thanks!
Scribbles September 25, 2012
I made this last night for dinner with fresh produce I purchased in the afternoon from my local farmer - it was so so good! I pan-seared the tuna then finished it in the oven the last few minutes with the veggies.
Thanks for a great, quick and good for us dinner!
fhp September 23, 2012
I think Im going to poach the tuna and put it on the bean tostada.
Damn the whole thing would be good on a tostada; guilt free or not.
charlenecara September 21, 2012
Amanda you are the master of understatement if you call this lazy. It is brilliant simplicity. It reminds me a bit of the "single girl salmon" from your book which is one of my all time favorite standbys. This is a versatile formula that will lend itself to thousands of variations. I'm imagining swordfish, rosemary, roasted potatoes, garlic and red peppers. Thanks for a wonderful idea!
Angela @. September 20, 2012
I would love to try this with Tuna Belly. I had a chance to "test" some recently and thought it was delicious. Unfortunately, it's a little tough to come by.