Italian-style Oil-Poached Tuna Salad

Italian-style Oil-Poached Tuna Salad
Photo by Grace Parisi

Oil-poached tuna is a revelation and this one rivals any high-quality imported oil-packed tuna from Italy, Spain, or Portugal. The fish absorbs all of the flavor of the herbs and garlic in the olive oil and stays incredibly moist and tender.

Italian-style Oil-Poached Tuna Salad | Sitka Salmon Shares

Active time: 15 min
Total time: 30 min
Serves: 2 to 3


  • 1 lemon
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 (3-inch) rosemary sprig
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 portion albacore tuna (8 to 10 ounces) cut into 1-inch thick slices
  • Extra virgin olive oil for poaching
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 (15–ounce) can cannellini or butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 celery stalks with leaves, sliced
  • 1 ripe tomato, chopped
  • Grilled bread for serving



Use a vegetable peeler to remove strips of lemon zest and add to a medium saucepan. Add the garlic, rosemary, red pepper flakes, tuna, and enough oil just to cover. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat and cook until the tuna is opaque and firm, 10 to 15 minutes.


Transfer the tuna to a plate and break into large flakes. Strain the oil and reserve ¼ cup for the dressing.

Into a large bowl, squeeze 3 tablespoons lemon juice. Whisk in the reserved olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the tuna, white beans, celery, and tomato, and gently toss to coat.

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Pro Tips

Pair it Up

Pair it Up

A sunny southern Italian white wine has enough body (and freshness) to compliment this oil-poached fish. Look for greco di tufo, fiano, or falanghina from the Campania region.

Level it Up

Level it Up

Use thinly sliced fresh fennel in place of the celery for a fresh anise flavor.

Change it Up

Change it Up

Spoon any leftover salad onto a crusty baguette or ciabatta roll and drizzle with plenty of olive oil for a fresh and satisfying sandwich.

Lighten it Up

Lighten it Up

Filled with heart-healthy fats, antioxidants, and lean proteins—tuna, olive oil, celery, and white beans—this dish is a complete meal. But for added benefits, add some blanched green beans.


*The information displayed is our analysis of the recipe based on its ingredients and preparation, and should not be considered a substitute for professional nutrition advice.

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