Wow! While skulking through Harris Teeter supermarket I noticed that they had beautiful tuna “medallions” for only $6.99 per pound. The chunks are not a problem for me since if it were steaks I’d need to cut them up anyway. The main thing is the quality and the price. It’s time replenish my supply of tuna confit.
Since my last post on tuna confit, the recipe from that post, which was from Fine Cooking, I’ve been perusing sous vide recipes and have come up with some modifications for the seasonings, and the method. I’m using the method from ChefSteps this time around (with a little modification of seasoning and cooking time and temperature). One modification was to infuse the oil with some additional herbs suggested in other recipes, and then straining/filtering the oil before packing the confit (in Mason jars).
Tuna Confit (2017)
- tuna (about 2 pounds)
- salt and sugar (4:1 ratio) for the dry cure/dry brine
- extra virgin olive oil, about 4 cups (enough to cover) the tuna
Infused oil ingredients
- extra virgin olive oil (about 4 cups)
- Turkish bay leaves (2 or 3 depending on size)
- sprig of thyme
- sprig of rosemary
- smashed garlic cloves (about 3)
- black peppercorns (about 2 teaspoons)
- red pepper flakes (just a dash)
- zest of one lemon (removed with a vegetable peeler)
- Infused oil:
- Place the oil in a slow cooker or multifunction pot on the warm setting and add all seasonings.
- Allow oil to infuse for several hours (a temperature of about 150°F) then cool the oil to room temperature.
- dry cure/dry brine the tuna for about 30 minutes then rinse, transfer to plate and let it dry.
- put the tuna into 500 mL jars, pouring oil around each piece, adding enough to cover the tuna in the jar
- cook in a multifunction pot on the warm setting for two hours
- cool tuna and refrigerate
When I tasted the oil, the flavors were a bit strong so I diluted it with an additional cup of extra virgin olive oil before using it to pack the tuna. Since the oil had lemon zest added during the infusion–I didn’t add lemon zest to the cans as the ChefSteps recipe had suggested. I think that would have been just too much lemon for even me–and I do like lemon!
My “medallions” were a just little thicker than the usual tuna steak so I allowed them just a bit of extra time with the dry cure (about 45 minutes) before rinsing and allowing them to air dry. There was a big difference in the firmness after that short period of dry cure.
After rinsing and patting dry with paper towels, I left them sitting on parchment paper for about 30 minutes to air dry, turning them over just once, then packing them in 500 mL Ball/Mason jars, adding oil to the bottom of the jar, and then after each piece of tuna
The ChefSteps recipe suggested cooking the tuna at 113°F for 1 hour and 30 minutes. My experience has been that, even though I love sashimi, I like my cooked fish cooked just a bit more. Part of the reason for making confit is not to eat it immediately but to be able to keep it longer as my replacement for “canned tuna”–so I’ve opted for a higher temperature–actually a lot higher temperature–more in keeping with the original recipe.
The jars of tuna in olive oil were put into the slow cooker on the warm setting which should give me about 160°F. I know that’s not going to be as lush and velvety as if it were cooked at a lower temperature. But preservation is part of the objective here (I mean, that was certainly the original goal of confit). I want this to last (in the fridge) for a bit.
Jar size was a bit of a problem–three of the medallions were simply too large to be sure that they would remain submerged under the oil, even allowing for shrinkage with cooking. Since the jars were going to be sealed, I didn’t want to take the chance of having to open them to add more oil. So–extra room in the jar with only two medallions in each.
No matter how this turns out it will be hands down better than most canned tuna (unless you spring for the really expensive stuff) and a lot easier than doing it on the stovetop or even in the oven.