Olive Oil Poached Tuna Infused with Thyme, Lemon, and Shallots

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 15 min
  • Prep: 25 min
  • Cook: 50 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Four 5-ounce pieces sushi-grade tuna (have the fishmonger cut the tuna in 5-ounce blocks, more like filet mignon, rather than steaks)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 cups extra-virgin olive oil

10 sprigs thyme

1/2 lemon, sliced

3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

2 shallots, sliced

Rosemary Stewed Lentils, recipe below

Fleur de Sel, for seasoning

Serving suggestion: sauteed broccoli rabe

Rosemary Stewed Lentils:

2 pounds French green lentils

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 shallots, finely chopped

6 cloves garlic chopped fine

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

4 sprigs rosemary, leaves removed and chopped

1 cup tomato puree


  1. Season the tuna with salt and pepper and set aside. Combine the oil, thyme, lemon, garlic, red pepper and shallots in a large saucepot. Warm the oil over medium heat until it reaches 130 degrees F. Let the flavors steep for 10 minutes. Re-test the temperature, adjusting the heat, if necessary. Submerge the tuna in the olive oil poaching liquid and cook until it is firm and medium-rare, approximately 5 minutes.
  2. Remove the tuna from the oil. Slice each piece. Arrange the tuna medallions over stewed lentils accompanied by sauteed broccoli rabe. Serve seasoned with Fleur de Sel and moistened with the olive oil poaching liquid.

Rosemary Stewed Lentils:

Yield: 4 servings
  1. Place the lentils in a pot. Add enough cold water to cover them by 2 inches. Season the water with salt then simmer the lentils over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the lentils are chewy, about 15 minutes. Drain the lentils and reserve.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a medium pot, over medium-low flame. Add the shallots, garlic, crushed red pepper, and rosemary. Cook stirring frequently until the shallots and garlic are golden, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato puree and cook until it begins to concentrate, about 7 minutes. Then add the lentils. Stew the lentils in the sauce over a very low flame until they are fully tender but still holding their shape, about 10 minutes. Serve warm.

Cook’s Note

Think of the olive oil and herbs in this case as a tea. The basic idea of this dish is to have the cooking temperature very low. The tuna's exterior cooks while the interior maintains a consistent temperature. I find that this method avoids the metallic taste found in seared tuna.