Homemade Marinated Tuna

I eat a can of tuna or two a month, usually in the form of tuna salad with mayo, celery and pickles. But I’ve never quite been able to associate canned tuna with tuna steaks seared rare, or raw in sushi. This recipe for homemade tuna marinated in oil intrigued me, because I was able to follow the tuna through from the raw tuna steak to a high-quality homemade ‘canned’ version. Not something I’ll do often, because of the extra expense and time, but it was fun to try once.

The first step is to poach the tuna in vinegar water until it is cooked through.

Then the tuna is cut into pieces and placed in a jar with olive oil, bay leaves and peppercorns to marinate for at least 2 days in the refrigerator.

You can use the marinated tuna in salads and pasta dishes. It is similar to any oil-packed tuna, but in denser chunks with a little more flavor. Like I said, I didn’t find it tasty enough to make it regularly worth the extra time and cost. But if you’re like me and enjoy experimenting, give it a try sometime!

Marinated Tuna
12 oz. tuna steaks
1/2 c. vinegar
2 bay leaves
3/4 tsp. salt
good quality extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp. black peppercorns

Place the tuna steaks in a small saucepan, add vinegar, bay leaves and 1/2 tsp. salt, and add water just to cover. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to a steady simmer. Poach the fish in this manner for 15 minutes, or until the steaks are cooked through. Don’t overcook the steaks at this point, though they should be completely cooked through. Turn off the heat, lift out the tuna steaks, sprinkle with another 1/4 tsp. salt and let air dry for 2 hours, turning over once to dry on both sides. Dry the bay leaves too.

Cut the tuna steaks into pieces and place in a shallow bowl or dish. Add a bit of olive oil, rubbing each piece to coat completely. Layer the pieces into the jar, one at a time. Any air bubbles or water may cause the tuna to spoil. Add some peppercorns and the bay leaves interspersed with the tuna pieces. Cover with olive oil to at least 1/4-inch over the tuna. Tap the jar on the tabletop, and run a knife gently around the outside of the jar to remove any extra air bubbles. Cover and refrigerate for 2 days before using.

Adapted from: Lidia’s Family Table, by Lidia Bastianich


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