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Olive Oil Poached Tuna with Caper and Olive Vinaigrette

Scott Phillips

Servings: four.

The olive oil poaching technique gives the tuna an incredibly tender, silky texture. It’s important to let the fish sit at room temperature for about an hour before poaching; straight-from-the-fridge tuna will dramatically lower the temperature of the oil and throw off the cooking time.


For the tuna

  • 1 clove garlic
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 to 6 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • Four 1-inch-thick tuna steaks (6- to 7-oz. each)

For the vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 Tbs. capers, rinsed and drained
  • 4 Kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt, as needed

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 500
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 320
  • Fat (g): 36
  • Saturated Fat (g): 6
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 23
  • Cholesterol (mg): 65
  • Sodium (mg): 540
  • Carbohydrates (g): 2
  • Fiber (g): 0
  • Protein (g): 40


Poach the tuna

  • Peel and smash the garlic clove and a pinch of salt to a paste, either with a mortar and pestle or by mincing and then mashing it with the side of a chef’s knife. Combine the garlic paste, rosemary, 1 tsp. salt, and the pepper in a small bowl. Add just enough oil to turn the spice mixture into a smooth paste, about 1/2 tsp. Rub the paste over the tuna—it will be sparse. Let the tuna sit at room temperature for about an hour.Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 225°F.

    Measure the thickness of the tuna steaks and add the same depth of oil to a 10-inch straight-sided sauté pan. Heat over low heat until the oil reaches 120°F, 2 to 3 minutes. Put the tuna steaks in the oil in a single layer and immediately transfer the pan to the oven. Poach until a few small whitish droplets rise to the surface of the tuna and the center of the fish is rosy, 25 minutes.

Make the vinaigrette

  • While the fish poaches, combine the parsley, capers, olives, garlic, vinegar, and sugar in a blender and blend to a coarse purée. With the motor running, pour the olive oil through the hole in the blender’s lid and purée until incorporated. Taste for salt (it may not need any) and set aside.Transfer the tuna to a wire rack to drain for a few minutes. Serve with the vinaigrette spooned over each steak.


Rate or Review

Reviews (4 reviews)

  • Kokinneke | 05/19/2015

    Easier to judge done-ness than pan seared or oven baked in a traditional way. Very tender and silky texture indeed! Using a thermometer makes this a vey easy dish to make. Highly recommended.

  • user-3936996 | 10/02/2014

    Slow poaching..isn't this sous vide? But very easy and delicious. Why not chicken, too, or fat shrimp.

  • clrasmussen | 03/01/2012

    Our grocery store was out of tuna steaks so I used swordfish, which still worked beautifully (looking forward to trying tuna). Not sure I had ever had juicy swordfish before, but this was actually juicy. The white-droplets-on-surface indicator worked the same with swordfish; once the opaque white globs appeared clinging to the the top surface of the fish it was done perfectly (just barely cooked firm).I seasoned the resting fish with a bit more salt than the recipe called for (sprinkled lightly on both sides before applying rub), and I'm glad I did.The vinaigrette was tasty (flavorful but fresh thanks to the parsley), but the cooking technique is the star here -- rub whatever you want on the fish and put whatever you want on top, it'll be delicious.Will make again for sure.

  • sarahmarg | 02/15/2011

    Easy recipe.I didn't particularly like the rosemary (although, this could just be my own personal preference). I also did not have a way to measure the oil temperature and I think the oil temperature was too high when I submerged the steaks - so, I removed the steaks from the oven after 15 min as opposed to 25. Turned out great and a wonderful blend of flavors.

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