Confit of tuna in infused olive oil

Courtesy Brad Ball

“This is my version of “tinned tuna”. When fresh tuna is available at a good price I buy more than I need and cook some fresh, seared with a nicoise salad, but then confit the rest so that I have tuna in jars in my pantry cupboard. Once you’ve made this you will never want to eat the tinned stuff again.”


  • 1,000 ml good-quality olive oil, not extra virgin though
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and cut into thick slices
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. black peppercorns, coarsely cracked
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 Tbs. coarse salt
  • 1,200 g top-quality Yellowfin or long fin tuna cut into 3cm thick steaks, make sure to cut out the blood line


  • Combine the oil, onion, herbs, peppercorns, lemon zest, and salt in a deep sauté pan. Heat to 65°C, stirring occasionally, and cook for 20 minutes at 65°c to infuse. The oil must not boil or it will fry the aromatics and burn. Remove from the heat and allow to rest for 30 minutes
  • Place the tuna into the warm oil and place it back on the heat, make sure the tuna is completely covered by the oil. Add more if necessary.
  • Gradually bring the oil back 60°C and immediately turn off the heat. Allow the tuna to confit in the warm oil for 7 minutes.
    Place the tuna chunks into sterilised jars and strain the aromatics from the oil. Allow the oil to cool down. Pour the infused oil into the jars covering the tuna. Place a lid on top and refrigerate.


  • The tuna confit will keep for 3-4 weeks. Use in salads, sandwiches or eat it straight from the jar with a little fresh lemon juice squeezed over it.