When I found locally fished albacore tuna at the market, which is only an occasional occurrence, I picked up an extra piece to put away for another time. The first instinct in today’s refrigerator age is to pop it in the freezer (but at this time of year my freezer is so overstuffed that I can’t even freeze the bowl of my ice cream maker). So I decided to preserve the tuna the old fashioned way, slowly poached in olive oil. This technique produced what it typically referred to as confit, a traditional way of preserving duck and goose in Southwestern France and other places. It’s of medieval origin and was a method used to preserve fruit as well, as I know so well from the jars of pickled cherries and currants and apricots and plums that line my pantry shelves. Here, as an experiment, I salted the tuna and let it sit for half an hour. I then poached it in olive oil, without letting the liquid bubble, for 30 minutes. After it was cool, I stored it in a crock with a tight fitting lid in the refrigerator. It’s delicious as is, but I can imagine creating another version with garlic, pepper and herbs like rosemary and thyme. It will keep for a month, that is, if not consumed before then. The oil can be re-used.
Categories: Fish, Preserving