Friday, May 2, 2014

Olive Oil Poached Tuna – You Can Tuna Fish

You’re perfectly happy eating regular canned tuna, until the day you taste the imported, olive oil-packed tuna, and realize exactly what you’ve been missing. You tell people that there’s nothing better, but that’s not entirely true. There’s this.

By gently poaching fresh ahi tuna in olive oil, you can create a “tuna fish” of exceptional quality. The taste and texture are amazing, and you can adapt this in many ways. Besides switching up herbs and seasonings, you can cook the fish to a wide range of doneness.

Traditionally, the tuna is cooked all the way through, and preserved in the oil. This is a perfectly fine way to do it, and you will be blown away by the results. If you want to cook it through, simply keep it in the oil on low heat, until it’s just barely pink in the center (it’s okay to peek). Then proceed as shown, and by the time it cools it will be perfect.

Or if you prefer, you can follow my lead, and give it a briefer basting in the hot oil, so that after cooling in the oil, you’ll still have some gorgeous pink running through. There are so many variables, so the 5-7 minutes I did mine should only be a guideline for you. If you stop when the tuna is rare to medium-rare, by the time it cools in the hot oil, you should get something close to what I have here.

You can also do just one steak in a smaller pan, and it should work about the same. By the way, do not throw away the olive oil! You can use it for salads and pastas, or strain and freeze for another batch. It may take you a few experiments, but once you dial it in to how you like, you will be enjoying one of life’s great pleasure. I hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients:
2 thick cut ahi tuna steaks (about 10-12 ounce each)
enough olive oil to come to surface of tuna steaks
handful of thyme sprigs
2 whole garlic cloves, bruised
red pepper flakes to taste
sea salt to taste

29 comments:

PJ said...

My only cooking talent is my ability to follow directions from your blog.

Jason Smith said...

I LOVE You, Man:'):')

Jason Smith said...

Please, CJ. Show us how to properly make tuna salad with this product. Please, Please.

sbin said...

Nice recipe! Do you have any recommendations as to how to use the leftover oil?

Chef John said...

Yes u can use oil, read the post!

Chef John said...

A tuna salad recipe....hmmmm.

Chef John said...

Classic or crazy?

kinjun ranger said...

My vote is for crazy. I can make a basic one.

Scott Barber said...

REO Speedwagon: "You can tune a piano, but you can't tuna fish". 1978, Epic Records.

Steve Kennedy said...

Definitely crazy. When I looked at that grilled cheese recipe with pears my first thought was yuk, but it turned out really, really, good. Take us crazy places.

Judy said...

crazy!!!! yes yes tuna salad!

CS said...

Couldn't you have just used a little more oil in the pan initially (enough to just cover) instead of basting the whole time?

Glenn Yeong said...

Hi chef John, greetings from Singapore! Big fan of yours :) just wanted to know if the tuna can be substituted for any other fish?

Glenn Yeong said...

Hi chef John, greetings from Singapore! Big fan of yours :) just wanted to know if the tuna can be substituted for any other fish?

Azi said...

Both!
Ok, I'll settle for classic technique and crazy everything else.

Love this recipe. Could it work with other fish too? Should they all be of the oily verity?

Jihadbaby said...

I second Crazy.

Karen Milfeld said...

Thanks for the recipe! Do you think this would work well with other types of fish too? Or is there something magical about tuna?

Karen Milfeld said...

Thanks for the recipe! Do you think this would work well with other types of fish too? Or is there something magical about tuna?

Chef John said...

You can definitely do this technique using another type of fish, but this seems to work best with thick, meaty things like tuna.

Peter Sices said...

My store only carries yellowfin tuna but apparently that is a subspecies of ahi, so "I'm in like yellowfin."

Chris K. said...

Chef John said...

This comment is from Chris K...

Tuna salad would be a classic Food Wish! But why do we have to choose between classic and crazy? DO BOTH!

Another use for the leftover olive oil: Spanish tortilla. Poach your onions & potatoes in it before adding the eggs. Is that weird? Probably. In a good way, though.

This video just reminded me I need to plant some thyme in the garden. Because it seems like I never have enough thyme on my hands.

Thyme is my second-favorite herb. I could almost smell it through the YouTubes.

Jason Smith said...

Tuna Salad...Full-on, Bat crap CRAZY

Beth said...

Is there an internal temperature you'd recommend we aim for?

Moggy Kubota said...

That looks amazing! I vote for you to show us how to turn it into a Pan Bagnat! I haven't had one since I lived in the south of France 30 years ago, but I can still remember how amazing they were.

Bryan Lansang said...

Hey, Chef. Is there a way to stop the albumin from forming outside of the fish? Its kind of gross looking.

Chef John said...

No!

Mike said...

I made this last night, and just pulled it out of the fridge. You are right...I may never go back to the canned stuff! It is amazing! Forget chicken of the sea...this is Filet Mignon of the sea!

Dano said...

Hey Chef John, I know I'm a little late on the leftover oil/tuna salad discussion, but I have to run this by you: what do you think of using the oil for your world famous homemade mayonnaise, and then using that flavoured mayo for a sumptuous tuna salad? That would be like, next level stuff (maybe?)!