By gently poaching fresh ahi tuna in olive oil, you can create a “tuna fish” of exceptional quality. The taste and texture are amazing, and you can adapt this in many ways. Besides switching up herbs and seasonings, you can cook the fish to a wide range of doneness.
Traditionally, the tuna is cooked all the way through, and preserved in the oil. This is a perfectly fine way to do it, and you will be blown away by the results. If you want to cook it through, simply keep it in the oil on low heat, until it’s just barely pink in the center (it’s okay to peek). Then proceed as shown, and by the time it cools it will be perfect.
Or if you prefer, you can follow my lead, and give it a briefer basting in the hot oil, so that after cooling in the oil, you’ll still have some gorgeous pink running through. There are so many variables, so the 5-7 minutes I did mine should only be a guideline for you. If you stop when the tuna is rare to medium-rare, by the time it cools in the hot oil, you should get something close to what I have here.
You can also do just one steak in a smaller pan, and it should work about the same. By the way, do not throw away the olive oil! You can use it for salads and pastas, or strain and freeze for another batch. It may take you a few experiments, but once you dial it in to how you like, you will be enjoying one of life’s great pleasure. I hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!
2 thick cut ahi tuna steaks (about 10-12 ounce each)
enough olive oil to come to surface of tuna steaks
handful of thyme sprigs
2 whole garlic cloves, bruised
red pepper flakes to taste
sea salt to taste