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Friday, June 28, 2013

Olive Oil Poached Tuna | Jiro Dreams of Sushi #FoodnFlix

Olive Oil Poached Tuna
I didn't make sushi.  You'd think that when pulling inspiration from a flick centered around gorgeous, masterful sushi-making, I would.  But I didn't.

It's not that I'm afraid to make it.  I'm really not.  It's just about not having access to the best ingredients, which for me matters - especially when it comes to sushi.  I'm extremely particular when it comes to sushi.  And when it came time (okay, past time - I procrastinated, as usual) to make something inspired by Jiro Dreams of Sushi, I was unable to get my hands on any superior fish or seafood.  I blame it on my distance from the ocean.

Yes, our Food 'n Flix pick this month is Jiro Dreams of Sushi.  When Camilla told me that she'd be choosing this flick a few months ago, I was pretty excited.  The husband and I had rented and watched it not too long before that, and I was so inspired.  If she hadn't chosen it, I might have.
Olive Oil Poached Tuna
It's the story of an 85-year old master of his craft, sushi making, Jiro Ono.  It's the story of how he became the best.  It's the story of his relationship with his son.  Well, sons actually - though the one set to take over his shop when he can no longer work is featured more prominently.

But really it goes deeper than the sushi.  It's about find a craft and devoting yourself to it.  It's about mastering a craft.  It's about respect, dedication, and being the best at what you do (because why wouldn't you want to be?).  That's the basis of it, but I don't really do it justice.  I think that it is 81 minutes well-spent, and that you won't be disappointed if you sit down to watch it.

And if you're anything like me, before it's over, you'll find yourself contemplating the logistics of hopping a plane to Tokyo.  What I wouldn't give to sit at Jiro's counter.

Though I didn't go the route of sushi-making, I knew that I wanted to use seafood of some sort.   And while I may not think the raw tuna I can get at the market around here is sushi-worthy, it is still good.  I decided to go for an old favorite.  Something that blew my mind the first time that I made it years ago in culinary school.  A simple oil-poached tuna.
Olive Oil Poached Tuna
If you've only ever opened up a can to fish out your tuna, you MUST give this simple method a try.  It produces moist, flavorful tuna that can be eaten as-is, or used in any way that you would normally use tuna.  You can vary the flavors that you infuse your oil around with them a few times to see how you like it best.  But once you've tried it, you may never go back to canned tuna again.

I served mine as part of a simple pasta dish for lunch.  I had just enough pasta left in a box sitting in the pantry for one person.  Add a random yellow tomato, a few smashed kalamata olives, a smattering of capers, and some of the oil that was used to poach the tuna - and it's a basically a perfect meal.

Once you decide on your occupation, you must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work.  Never complain about your job.  You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill.  That's the secret of success, and is the key to being regarded honorably.   ~Jiro Ono
Olive Oil Poached Tuna
Olive Oil Poached Tuna
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Cook Time: 20-30 minutes
Keywords: poach entree dairy-free low-carb nut-free soy-free sugar-free fish tuna olive oil

Ingredients (varies)
    amounts vary - this is more of a method than a recipe:
    • 1-inch thick tuna steaks or fillets
    • good quality Olive Oil (enough to cover)
    • fresh thyme sprigs
    • fresh oregano sprigs
    • bay leaf
    • rind of a lemon, cut into strips (yellow part only)
    • garlic cloves, peeled
    • dried red chile
    • black peppercorns
    • sea salt
    Start by choosing a pan that just is large enough to set your tuna steaks in, side by side, without overlapping, and without too much extra space. Add enough olive oil to that pan so that it will just cover the tuna, once you add it (but don't add the tuna yet) - so, maybe an 1-1/2 to 2 inches up the sides. Add a few sprigs of thyme and oregano, along with a bay leaf, a few strips of lemon rind, a clove or two of garlic, the dried chile, a smattering of peppercorns, and few big pinches of sea salt.

    Set the pot over medium heat until it just starts to bubble. Immediately remove it from the heat and carefully lower the tuna steaks into the hot oil. Let sit, undisturbed, for 20 minutes. At this point it should be just cooked through, with a tinge of pink at the center.

    At this point, it is ready to eat.

    Advance Preparation:
    Once the tuna is cooked, transfer it to a jar (or jars) with a tight-fitting lid. Pour the poaching oil over the tuna, making sure it covers the tuna. Put on the lid, and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

    Serving suggestions:
    Use this as you would use canned, oil-packed tuna. I love to serve it with pasta that's been tossed with whatever veggies I have on hand, using the oil to drizzle and moisten the pasta. Use it to make the best tuna melt you've ever tasted. Use it in a salad nicoise. The possibilities are endless.
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    Olive Oil Poached Tuna

    Food 'n Flix club logo This round of Food 'n Flix is being hosted by Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla.  Although is the final day to submit a post, if you haven't seen Camilla's pick for this month, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, I still recommend watching's just so inspiring and (I think) awe-inducing.

    Also, I'm excited to be hosting again in July!  Stay tuned for an announcement post in a few days...we'll be watching Monsoon Wedding.  I hope you can join us!

    This post contains Amazon affiliate links.