Olive Oil Poached Albacore
While salmon justly serves as the iconic fish of the Pacific Northwest, Oregon albacore might be my favorite. For more about albacore, read Kelly Meyers’ article on Culinate and Kathleen Bauer’s Good Stuff NW. If you’re headed to the coast, the Oregon Albacore Commission has fishing boat contact info so you can buy it right off the dock. Here’s how I like to cook it.
I have a small sauce pan that holds a couple of the average sized albacore loins after I cut them into lengths a bit shorter than the pot is deep. I put a cup or so of good extra virgin olive oil in the pan, then pack the pieces in so they’re fairly snug. If the oil doesn’t come at least halfway up the fish, I add more.
I put the pan over a very low flame, and when it just starts to bubble a little, I flip the fish pieces over so the end that was out of the oil is now submerged. I cover the pot, turn off the heat, and let it sit for a half hour or more. The fish cooks through at a low temperature, and the risk of overcooking is very low. What we don’t eat immediately goes into the refrigerator, along with the olive oil used for cooking. It keeps several days and is like having the best canned tuna in the world ready to go.
If you don’t have a pan that works like this, just slice the loins and cook them very gently in enough extra virgin olive oil to keep them partially submerged. Keep the heat as low as possible, since overcooking is the worst thing you can do to albacore.