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Oil-Poached Tuna with Fennel and Orange

In this clever one-pot dish, Grace Parisi poaches fennel, shallots and orange zest in extra-virgin olive oil. She then cooks a tuna steak in that oil, making the fish incredibly moist and flavorful.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • One 1-pound, 1-inch-thick tuna steak
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups canola oil
  • 2 fennel bulbs—halved, cored and very thinly sliced (about 5 cups), fronds reserved for garnish
  • 2 large shallots, very thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 4 small dried red chiles
  • Six 1-inch-wide strips of orange zest, preferably organic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 blood orange, peeled and thinly sliced


  1. Season the tuna with salt and pepper and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. In a large saucepan, combine the oils with the sliced fennel, shallots, chiles, orange zest and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderate and simmer until the fennel and shallots are softened, about 10 minutes. Add the tuna to the saucepan and simmer until nearly cooked through and the fennel is tender, about 7 minutes. Transfer the tuna to a plate and let cool slightly.
  2. Strain the oil into a heatproof cup. Discard the bay leaf, chiles and orange zest. Shake out as much oil from the fennel and shallots as possible; transfer to a bowl. Return the oil to the saucepan and heat to moderately high. Add one-third of the cooked fennel and shallots and fry, stirring, until golden and crispy, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, strain the crisp fennel and shallots and drain on paper towels. Season with salt.
  3. Stir the lemon juice and parsley into the remaining fennel-shallot mixture and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the fennel onto plates. Thinly slice the tuna and transfer to the plates. Top with the crispy fennel. Garnish with blood orange and fennel fronds. Serve.

Suggested Pairing

A grassy, citrusy Sauvignon Blanc.

Contributed By Photo © John Kernick Published April 2013

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