Tonno Sott'Olio: Canned Tuna 2.0

July 28, 2009

I have nothing against canned tuna, but that 'chunk light' stuff is downright fraudulent!

I open it up in hopes for a nutritious shot of protein in my busy day only to dump out 50% of its contents in water weight. What I am left with is the soot of something that once was a fin in the sea. I can't help but feel hoodwinked.

I covet imported tonno or atun. I use it bit by bit. I stow it in the back of my cupboard. I flake it ever so carefully over salads. I eat it with crunchy pickled onions and sherry vinegar, as in my Andalucian potato and tuna salad. I make sure to use the olive oil that it is packed in too. It is an overlooked luxury- it's like sucking the marrow of lobster tentacles or eating beef cheeks.

Now what makes tonno so so good? Well, If you think about it, packed tuna is the result of people attempting to capture and savour the rich flavor of fish before it descends into funkiness. So good tuna, good olive oil, is a must.

I used Mario Batali's Recipe, which poaches the fish in a briny mixture of vinegar and spices. I olive oil packed it and allowed it to sit for a luxurious 30 days in order for the proteins to fully relax. I must admit, I was too impatient to wait the full 30 days, and stole pinches of the fleshy fish from time to time - each time getting better.

Please make this tuna and treasure it. It is simply with some lemon or vinegar - perhaps over something crisp.

Tonno Sott'Olio
Adapted from Mario Batali (makes 10 servings) Total time: 1 hour + 30 days, Active time: 1 hour

-1/2 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 bay leaves
- A couple black peppercorns, allspice berries, cloves crushed slightly
- 1 quarts water
- 2.5 pounds fresh tuna, cut into chunks
- 2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
1. In a stock pot, combine the vinegar, onion, garlic, bay leaves, spices , 1 quarts of water and cook over high heat until it is reduced by one-third.

2. Add the tuna, reduce to a simmer, and poach for 45 minutes. Drain the tuna and place in a jar or terra cotta pot. Cover with olive oil and seal.

3. Let sit for 20 to 30 days, refrigerated.

You can serve this with fresh bread and onions, make a potato salad, or incorporate it into a tomato sauce. You could also proudly snack while you linger in your kitchen.


nyonya pendek melaka said...

i really love tuna! nice recipe you have there.

Dhanggit said...

i could lick these photos, they look yummy!

Elra said...

WOW Katie, this tuna really tempting. I think I can wait for 30 days before consume it as long as it is worth it. Seems like worth the effort. I am going to bookmark this recipe. Thanks dear. I always learn new stuff from your site.

nyonya pendek melaka said...

hi katie, i could surely send you some of the tempeh if it can survive the long distance journey :D

Marc @ NoRecipes said...

Wow, that's a great idea. Canned tuna is soooo expensive, although I've figured out lately that spanish canned tuna is just as good as the Italian kind and it's a heck of a lot cheaper (same goes for anchovies).

Juliana said...

Very interesting recipe...I have a couple of tuna cans, the chuncky ones, so I'll definitely try it! Looks really tasty!

pigpigscorner said...

ahh this is way better than any other canned tuna! Love the chunkiness.

Anonymous said...

katie! this is amazing. i love your recipe choices. you really are an alchemist.

Justin said...

this sounds awesome. thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog. now i'll keep an eye out for yours.

Elizabeth said...

SO GOOD couldn't wait for the bread to toast.....

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