mixed herb & garlic olive oil poached tuna

By • March 6, 2014 0 Comments

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Author Notes: This is a dish I developed from the idea of a traditional Italian "pan bagnat" sandwich my Mother would craft on busy weekends for lunch or simple late night dinners. We always used olive oil packed and preserved tuna for all our cooking needs.

This poaching method allows me to use fresh sashimi grade tuna and cook it to the doneness I prefer as well as infuse all kinds of flavor depending on my taste whim of the moment.
cucina di mammina

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Serves 4-6

poached tuna

  • 4 to 6 cups good quality olive oil
  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds fresh sashimi grade tuna
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 2 rosemary branches
  • 4 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 small head of garlic, peeled (approx. 6-8 cloves)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil to dress the tuna

the warm & cold sides

  • 1 bunch fresh green beans, cleaned and trimmed
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach
  • 6-8 medium white potatoes, boiled and peeled
  • fresh flat leaf Italian parsley
  • white wine vinegar
  • olive oil
  • garlic cloves
  1. Peel the boiled potatoes once cooled and slice them into medium slices and place in a large bowl. Dress with olive oil, white wine vinegar and salt & pepper to taste. Set aside or refrigerate until time to serve.
  2. One day prior to serving, take a large deep stockpot, combine the 4-6 cups of olive oil, thyme, rosemary, garlic cloves and bay leaves and place on medium low heat using an oil/candy thermometer to reach a maximum of 200 degrees fahrenheit for 10 minutes consistently.
  3. Cool this oil mixture down, cover and refrigerate overnight.
  4. The next day, remove the oil from the refrigerator (remove all the herbs and garlic cloves), put the thermometer in the stock pot and place on medium heat. Heat the oil to 160 degrees fahrenheit consistent and keep it at this temperature. Remove the herbs and garlic cloves.
  5. Add in the tuna, check the oil to ensure it is deep enough to totally submerge the fish pieces.
  6. Poach the tuna at 200 degrees for about 5 minutes or so (depending on the thickness of the tuna, this cook time and temperature will produce tuna that is cooked through to pink inside.)
  7. Note: If you prefer the tuna's center to be medium rare to rare; reduce and test the cooking time based on thickness of your tuna and the intensity of the heat stated here. You can test by poaching a small "test piece" of tuna and check the center.
  8. Remove the tuna immediately and set aside in a small plate (cover to keep warm.)
  9. Discard the poaching oil at this point. If you prefer to keep the flavored oil, you can continue to cook it at this time by bringing it to a slow simmer for about 5-8 minutes, remove from the heat and let it cool.
  10. Run this flavored poaching oil through a strainer to remove any bits and pieces. This flavor filled oil can be used for dressing the poached tuna when serving or for use in a wonderful vinaigrette for salad or sandwiches.
  11. {for the warm sides} Parboil the green beans and drain well. Saute them in olive oil with a garlic clove for 2-4 minutes and season with salt and pepper.
  12. Saute the spinach in olive oil and garlic until wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste and zest some lemon over the spinach right before serving.
  13. Note: You can serve this olive oil poached tuna warm or cold with cured olives, pickled vegetables and cucumbers, sauteed arugula or arugula salad, vegetable and herb quinoa or steamed rice with olive oil and lemon zest.

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