Recipes Main Courses Seafood Olive Oil-Poached Tuna with Tomato-Fennel Salad

Olive Oil-Poached Tuna with Tomato-Fennel Salad

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6

Poaching in a shallow bath of olive oil and herbs results in tender, flavorful tuna that can be enjoyed warm or at room temperature. Serving it alongside a salad of fennel, tomatoes and beets adds vibrant color and fresh flavor to the dish.


  • 6 ahi tuna fillets, each about 6 oz. and 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups (32 fl. oz./1 l) Williams-Sonoma Cooking Oil
  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig
  • 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 1 fennel bulb, cored and thinly shaved
  • 1 lb. (500 g) assorted small tomatoes, quartered or halved
  • 1 golden beet, peeled and thinly shaved
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly shaved


Season the tuna generously with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a deep fry pan over medium heat, combine the oil, rosemary, garlic and red pepper flakes and heat to 200° to 225°F (95° to 110°C) on a deep-frying thermometer.

Carefully place 3 tuna fillets in the oil and cook, turning once, until lightly browned on the exterior but still bright pink inside, 4–6 minutes (the tuna will continue to cook after being removed from the oil). Using a slotted spatula, transfer the tuna to a baking sheet. Return the oil to 200° to 225°F (95° to 110°C) and cook the remaining tuna. Reserve 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) of the poaching oil. If not serving the tuna immediately, let cool to room temperature, cover the tuna with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.

In a small bowl, whisk together the 1/4 cup reserved poaching oil, the lemon juice and honey. In a large bowl, toss the fennel, tomatoes, beet and celery with dressing to coat.

Cut the tuna against the grain into slices 1/2 inch (12 mm) thick. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Serve the sliced tuna warm or at room temperature with the salad alongside. Serves 6.