Tuna Niçoise Sandwiches with Olive Aioli

At his sandwich shop, Grahamwich, Graham Elliot (an F&W Best New Chef 2004) poaches tuna in herb-scented oil to make it wonderfully moist, then serves it on a focaccia roll with a runny soft-boiled egg. Omitting the egg makes the sandwich more portable. And instead of poaching your own tuna, you can save time by substituting good quality imported tuna jarred in olive oil.

  • Active:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4
  • Time(Other): Plus 3 hr marinating

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  • 1 pound tuna steak, about 1 inch thick
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 4 ounces thin green beans
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped anchovies
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 focaccia rolls, split
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, cut into thin strips

How to make this recipe

  1. Season the tuna generously with salt and transfer to a large resealable plastic bag. Add 1 cup of the olive oil, two-thirds of the garlic, the lemon zest, peppercorns, bay leaves and the canola oil. Seal the bag, pressing out the air. Refrigerate for 3 hours.

  2. Pour the bag contents into a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook over low heat for 7 minutes, turning the tuna if it's not completely submerged. Remove from the heat; let stand for 30 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tuna to a plate. Pick off the peppercorns and flake the fish. Discard the bay leaves and oil.

  3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the green beans until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and cool under cold running water. Pat the beans dry and transfer them to a small bowl; add the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season the beans with salt.

  4. In a mini food processor, combine the remaining garlic with the olives, anchovies and basil and process until finely chopped. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil and process to a chunky paste. Add the mayonnaise and pulse to blend.

  5. Spread the olive aioli on the focaccia rolls and fill the sandwiches with the roasted peppers, green beans and tuna. Close the sandwiches and serve.

Make Ahead

The tuna sandwiches can be wrapped and refrigerated overnight. The cooked tuna can be refrigerated in the oil for up to 3 days.

Suggested Pairing

Minerally, medium-bodied Greco di Tufo.

Contributed By Photo © John Paul Urizar Published May 2010

490666 recipes/tuna-nicoise-sandwiches-olive-aioli 2014-01-24T01:46:13+00:00 Graham Elliot poaching|game-day|american|french|sandwiches|4|make-ahead|staff-favorite|weeknight-dinner|lunch may-2010 recipes,tuna-nicoise-sandwiches-olive-aioli 490666

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