Tuna Poached in Olive Oil


I wanted to put a new spin on tuna salad for lunch this week. Over the weekend I spied a couple of decent-looking albacore steaks at Trader Joe’s and decided to make my own (infinitely better) version of “canned tuna.” I’d read about poaching tuna in olive oil some time ago and it was intriguing to me since I generally try to use home-cooked as opposed to canned or prepared foods. I also really liked the bay-leaf flavor of the cod liver I used for my Cod Liver Salad, so I wanted to try to poach the tuna with the addition of bay leaf to try to replicate that delicate fragrance and taste.

I used:

2 smallish albacore tuna steaks

olive oil – enough to come a third of the way up a small frying pan.

5 bay leaves

lots of freshly cracked black pepper

salt to taste

I poured the oil into the pan and added bay leaves, to infuse the oil and reheat on medium-low for a few minutes. It’s important that the oil isn’t too hot for this, as you don’t want a “deep-fried” effect! The low-and-slow poaching cooks it throughout while retaining the moisture and tenderness. I washed and thoroughly dried the tuna steaks, and sprinkled thoroughly with salt and cracked black pepper on both sides. Let the steaks sit for a little while, until the oil heats up. When the oil starts to slightly simmer, place the steaks into it and continue to cook for about 3 minutes on each side, covered. Separate with a fork to make sure it’s reached your desired doneness.


When done, put into a glass container for keeping and pour the bay-leaf infused oil over the top to keep moist and flavorful.


The next day, when I pulled the chilled end product out of the fridge for a taste-test, I couldn’t bring myself to smother it in mayonnaise for a traditional tuna salad! So, instead I de-constructed it, with some hardboiled egg and blanched haricots verts on the side, drizzled with a wasabi vinaigrette dressing. It was a delicious, filling and healthy lunch.

Tomorrow on the menu – tuna mac-and-cheese!!

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4 Responses to Tuna Poached in Olive Oil

  1. christine says:

    Looks delicious! I wish I could sneak bites from you in the lunchroom today!

  2. chef mimi says:

    You essentially made tuna confit! Fabulous!

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