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How to prepare tuna in oil

tuna in oil 2Tuna in oil: To prepare tuna in oil you must first have fresh tuna. Once you have prepared it, it will be ready in 3 months for you to add to salads or pasta.

Tuna in oil is a typical product of the little Italian island of Ponza. The Alagonga tuna are highly prices for preserving in oil because of its light flesh and they are fished during the months of May through to the end of July. So while I was on Ponza, I had the experience of watching Ada prepare her own and recorded it with a few photographs for you.

Typically, tuna in oil is prepared in large quantities. It is cut into hand-size pieces and immersed in boiling, salted water for up to 3 hours. It is drained, boned and left to dry on cloth for hours. Ada prepares up to 20 jars of tuna in oil at a time. It is a huge job! Cooking the tuna alone takes up to 3 hours but here, we have reduced the recipe to be more manageable for you.


  • 800 grams piece of fresh tuna, boneless and skinless
  • 50 grams salt
  • 4 – 6 bay leaves
  • Enough vegetable oil to cover the tuna
  1. Clean the tuna in water to remove any blood and change the water until it runs clear.
  2. Place the tuna into a saucepan, cover with water and the salt. Bring it to a boil then reduce to simmer and allow the tuna to cook for 1 hour.
  3. Drain the tuna in a colander inside a bowl deep enough for the excess dripping water not to touch the tuna. The tuna will need to drain for up to 24 hours until all of the moisture has been removed and the tuna is completely dry.
  4. Sterilize your jars and lids and ensure that they are completely dry.
  5. Cut the tuna into manageable pieces and pack them tightly into the jars.
  6. Pour the oil into the jars until the tuna is completely covered. You will need to top them up as the tuna begins to absorb the oil, so take you time and ensure that the tuna is covered in the oil before closing the lids tightly.
  7. Place jars into a saucepan filled with enough water to cover the jars 2/3rds of the way up.
  8. Bring the water to a boil and then light simmer, for 45 minutes to create a vacuum.
  9. Remove the pan from the heat and leave the jars in the water until it has cooled.
  10. Store your tuna in a cool, dark place for up to 3 months before opening.


Published by thebigdreamfactory

My name is Susie Evans-Ardovini and I created The Big Dream Factory. I was born in the UK and have been a chef and restauranteur for over 30 years. During this time I have also lived in France and Italy where I visited many beautiful places and met many wonderful people. I am particularly impressed with the Italian way of life and their approach to food. Many families work extremely hard to grow and produce their own salumi, cheese, wine and olive oil which means that they have a wealth of knowledge and experience, most of which has been handed down through countless generations. It is no different in the kitchen. Nearly all foods served at an Italian table have been gathered from someones garden or field, and is then served alongside homemade, pasta, gnocchi, and countless dishes that could not be recounted in this tiny space since each family's knowledge is unique ... well, you can only imagine. I have walked Rome, climbed to the top of the Vatican, seen Milan, Venice, the Cinque Terre, climbed mountains, walked The Path of the Gods, wandered the great city of Napoli, lived on the little Island of Ponza and gathered a pile of friends, family and photographs as well as invalueable experience along the way. I became a new immigrant to the U.S.A on December 15th, 2013. With the support of many great friends and a passion (bordering on obsession), I am here in search of the American Dream and to bring you the natural flavours and vibrant colours of Italy. All my pasta, gnocchi and biscotti are made by hand just as I saw Italians do in homes and good restaurants all over Italy, every day and sometimes, twice a day. I hope you enjoy my creations and invite you to share your comments, photographs and recipes with me on Facebook or Twitter. In return I of course, will share beautiful Italy with you.

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