Not Uncle Rocco's tuna

Time 45 minutes
Yields Serves 4
Not Uncle Rocco’s tuna

Roasted tomato sauce


Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Place the tomatoes on a baking sheet and sprinkle half the garlic, plus the thyme, sugar, one-fourth teaspoon salt and one-eighth teaspoon pepper. Bake until the tomatoes are shriveled, 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Cool to room temperature.


Coarsely chop the tomatoes. In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat and cook the remaining garlic until it softens, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and the tarragon and cook for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pickled onions


Bring the water, vinegar, sugar, one-half teaspoon salt and one-fourth teaspoon pepper to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until slightly softened but still crisp, about 5 minutes. Drain and cool to room temperature. Toss the onion with the olive oil.

Olive oil-poached tuna and assembly


In a medium saucepan, heat the oil and bay leaves to 140 degrees (check with an instant-read thermometer). Pat the fish dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Slide the fish into the oil and cook, maintaining the temperature at 140 degrees until it is pale gray on the outside but rosy pink in the center, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the fish.


To serve, divide the onion mixture evenly among 4 plates. Spoon tomato sauce on top of the onions, then arrange the tuna on top. Season the tuna with salt and serve.

Adapted from Molly O’Neill’s “One Big Table,” from Cara Mia Constantine.

S. Irene Virbila is a former restaurant critic and wine columnist for the Los Angeles Times. She left in 2015.
Russ Parsons is a former food writer and columnist at the Los Angeles Times.
Betty Hallock was the deputy Food editor, covering all things food and drink for the Saturday section and Daily Dish blog. She started at The Times in 2001 in the Business section and previously worked on the National desk at the Wall Street Journal in New York. She’s a graduate of UCLA and New York University.
Noelle Carter is the former Los Angeles Times Test Kitchen director. She left in January 2019.
Rene Lynch is a writer and editor with the Saturday section in features. She works across a variety of coverage areas, including wellness, design and food, and edits the weekly L.A. Affairs column.
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