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Preserving Tuna


Preserving Tuna

Growing up, I was indifferent to tuna in a can, but the first time I had canned tuna in Spain, I completely changed my tuna tune. The Spanish are fanatical about their canned seafood, and tuna is no exception. In recent years, high-quality Spanish tuna has become available in the United States; however, it is surprisingly easy to make your own when high-quality yellowfin is available. And as I’ve said earlier, we must be careful to choose the right tuna (i.e., not bluefin).

I like to fold preserved tuna with homemade all i oli and sliced cucumbers for a delicious tuna salad sandwich. Even a piece of preserved tuna on toast is great. Or toss it in a salad with cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, walnuts, and arugula.

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  • 1 Pound kosher salt
  • 1 Pound sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon pimentón
  • 1 Pound freshest available yellowfin or bonito tuna
  • 4 Cups olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 8 guindilla peppers
  • Zest of 4 lemons, shaved with a vegetable peeler


Combine the salt, sugar, and pimentón in a bowl and add the tuna, covering thoroughly with the salt and sugar mix. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to cure. Thoroughly rinse the tuna and pat dry.

Combine the olive oil, garlic, thyme, guindilla, and lemon zest in a large pot and heat over very
low heat to 125 degrees on a candy thermometer. Add the tuna and gently cook for 10 minutes, until the tuna is just cooked through but not dry.


Remove the fish to a plate lined with a paper towel and let both fish and oil cool.


Divide the fish among 4 small, sterilized canning jars with flip-top lids and top with the olive oil and herb cooking mixture. Cover the jars and process in boiling water for a minute to seal. The tuna will keep in the refrigerator for about 3 weeks.