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This dish requires a lot of olive oil for poaching, but you won’t waste a drop. Use some of the flavorful poaching oil in the salad dressing; strain and refrigerate the remainder for cooking greens or for dressing future salads. The strained oil will keep for a month.

Little Gem Lettuces with Olive Oil-Poached Tuna


  • 1 albacore tuna steak, about 10 ounces (315 g) and
  • 3⁄4 to 1 inch (2 to 2.5 cm) thick
  • 3⁄4 teaspoon ground fennel seed
  • 3⁄4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1 large fresh thyme sprig
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 clove garlic, halved
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 1 3⁄4 to 2 cups (430 to 500 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons (90 ml) extra virgin olive oil (from the tuna baking dish)
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon salt-packed capers, rinsed and finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 small clove garlic, finely minced
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1⁄2 cups (280 g) cooked chickpeas (drain and rinse if canned)
  • 1⁄2 pound (250 g) Little Gem lettuce or romaine hearts
  • 1⁄4 pound (125 g) radicchio
  • 1⁄2 red onion, shaved or very thinly sliced
  • 3⁄4 cup (125 g) halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1⁄4 cup (10 g) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Serves 4


Preheat the oven to 200°F (95°C). Remove the tuna from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.

Season the tuna on both sides with the fennel seed and salt. Put the tuna in a deep ovenproof baking dish just large enough to hold it. Add the thyme, bay leaf, garlic, and peppercorns. Pour in enough olive oil just to cover the tuna.

Bake until a few white dots (coagulated protein) appear on the surface of the fish and the flesh just begins to flake when probed with a fork, 30 to 40 minutes. The tuna should still be slightly rosy inside. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature in the oil.

Make the dressing: In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, capers, oregano, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the chickpeas and let them marinate for 30 minutes.

With a slotted spatula, lift the tuna out of the olive oil and onto a plate.

Put the lettuce in a large salad bowl. Tear the larger outer leaves in half, if desired, but leave the pretty inner leaves whole. Tear the radicchio into bite-size pieces and add to the bowl along with the onion, tomatoes, and parsley.

Using a slotted spoon, add the chickpeas, then add enough of the dressing from the chickpea bowl to coat the salad lightly. By hand, flake the tuna into the bowl.

Toss, taste for salt and vinegar, and serve.

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