Apr 12, 2021

Confit Tuna Salad Sandwich

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Slowly poaching the ahi tuna in olive oil at a low temperature results in extremely tender, rich fish. Think of it as a homemade alternative to canned tuna, the “chicken of the sea”.

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While confit generally refers to something being cooked in its own oil, the term also applies to the method used here. While it can be served gently flaked apart and added to sandwiches or niçoise salad as is, in this recipe the cooked tuna is broken up and shredded. I take the tuna salad recipe a step further with mayonnaise and the confit shallots cooked with the fish.

The contrast of the confit shallots in the tuna salad with the pickled onions and fire-roasted peppers, avocado, cucumber and sprouts makes for a bright yet light summer sandwich. I use sourdough bread (extra points for homemade) though any other bread will work fine. 

Confit Tuna Salad Sandwich

ahi tuna

More About This Sandwich

This recipe is inspired by the tuna conserva sandwich from Gjusta in Venice, California. The rustic open-kitchen shop with exposed beams and a long thick marble counter serves everything from sandwiches to pizzas and bread all using house-made ingredients. I appreciate a place that makes most things from scratch. It adds a unique and special touch, plus it’s just impressive. 

What’s in this sandwich?

  • Confit tuna salad
  • Pickled red onions
  • Roasted red peppers
  • Sliced avocado
  • Sliced cucumber
  • Sprouts
  • Sourdough bread
Confit Tuna Sandwich

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Tuna – Rather than quickly searing tuna or serving it raw, I slowly poach this tuna in olive oil. While it takes a bit of time, I prefer to make this confit tuna rather than using canned tuna since I have much more control over the seasoning, flavor and how it’s cooked.
  • Shallots – Shallots have a mild and slightly sweet flavor. If needed, substitute sliced yellow onion for the shallot in this recipe. The general rule of thumb is 3 medium shallots equal 1 medium onion.
  • Rosemary – I use fresh sprigs of rosemary in the confit tuna to add aromatics and a subtle herby flavor. Swap with another aromatic herb like thyme if needed.
  • Mayonnaise – Mayo acts as a binder, holding the shredded confit tuna salad together and
  • Olive oil – Extra-virgin olive oil is unrefined and made from pure, cold-pressed olives, giving it more of a true olive taste. I prefer to use it in this recipe rather than regular olive oil. Enough oil is needed to cover the fish as it cooks.
  • Sprouts – Alfalfa sprouts are very young plants, harvested just after they germinate and add a mild, slightly nutty flavor and are mineral rich.

How to Make This Confit Tuna Salad Sandwich

  1. Season tuna. Heat oven to 275ºF (140ºC). Season the tuna on both sides with salt and pepper and let sit for 20 minutes.
  2. Slowly bake the tuna. Add to an oven safe baking dish or Dutch oven and cover with the olive oil, using more if needed so the fish is just covered. Add the shallots and rosemary then cover and bake until the fish is tender and just cooked through, about 30 minutes.
  3. Make the fish salad. Let cool to the touch, about 15 minutes and discard the rosemary. Add the fish and shallots to a large mixing bowl and save the oil for another use. Add the mayonnaise and vinegar, using a fork to mash up the tuna. Season with salt and pepper to taste then set aside until ready to use. The tuna mixture can be made a day ahead of time then covered and refrigerated until ready to use.
  4. Roast red pepper. Char the red pepper over gas flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides. Enclose in a paper bag for 10 minutes.
  5. Slice peppers. After roasting the pepper, carefully peel off the charred skin. Slice the top part off the pepper (about the top 1/2″) discarding the stem and seeds. Cut the red pepper into strips and set aside.
  6. Assemble sandwich. Toast the sourdough bread then top 2 of the slices with tuna salad, avocado slices, cucumber slices, roasted red pepper, pickled onions and sprouts.
  7. Serve. Close both sandwiches and carefully slice in half with a bread knife. Serve immediately or wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to serve.
how to make Confit Tuna Sandwich

Tips and Tricks for This Recipe

Swaps and Substitutions
  • If you prefer a bit of crunch in your tuna salad, add 1/4 cup diced celery.
  • The confit tuna can be easily swapped with 2 (6.7 ounce) jars of oil packed jarred tuna filets for a shortcut.
  • The homemade roasted red pepper can be swapped for a jarred roasted red pepper ash a shortcut.
  • Swap the vinegar for another acid like lemon juice if needed.
  • Swap the sprouts for lettuce leaves.
  • Try adding chopped fresh herbs like parsley and chives to the tuna salad.
How Long Can the Salad Be Made In Advance

The tuna mixture can be made up to 2 days ahead of time then covered and refrigerated until ready to use.

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this confit tuna fish sandwich recipe, I recommend checking out these:

Confit Tuna Salad Sandwich

Confit Tuna Sandwich
Print Pin
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Serves 2

Ingredients:

For the confit tuna:

  • ¾ pound ahi tuna
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • 2 cups extra-virgin olive oil, additional as needed
  • 2 medium shallots, sliced
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

For serving:

  • 1 medium red bell pepper, (or substitute with a jar of fire-roasted red peppers, cut into strips)
  • 4 slices sourdough bread
  • 1 medium Haas avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced
  • ½ cup thinly sliced cucumber
  • ¼ cup pickled onions
  • 1 cup sprouts

Instructions:

For the confit tuna:

  • Heat oven to 275ºF (140ºC).
  • Season the tuna on both sides with salt and pepper and let sit for 20 minutes.
  • Add to an oven safe baking dish or Dutch oven and cover with the olive oil, using more if needed so the fish is just covered. Add the shallots and rosemary then cover and bake until the fish is tender and just cooked through, about 30 minutes.
  • Let cool to the touch, about 15 minutes and discard the rosemary. Add the fish and shallots to a large mixing bowl and save the oil for another use. Add the mayonnaise and vinegar, using a fork to mash up the tuna. Season with salt and pepper then set aside until ready to use.
  • The tuna mixture can be made a day ahead of time then covered and refrigerated until ready to use.

For serving:

  • Char the red pepper over gas flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides. Enclose in a paper bag for 10 minutes.
  • After roasting the pepper, carefully peel off the charred skin. Slice the top part off the pepper discarding the stem and seeds. Cut the red pepper into strips and set aside.
  • Toast the sourdough bread then top 2 of the slices with tuna salad, avocado slices, cucumber slices, roasted red pepper, pickled onions and sprouts.
  • Close both sandwiches and carefully slice in half with a bread knife. Serve immediately or wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to serve.

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  1. You will never buy or eat canned tuna again after making the confit tuna! The tuna comes out absolutely perfect. So moist and flavorful. I eat a lot of salads throughout the week and topped some of the leftover tuna with the salad and it made it just perfect. I also used the leftover tuna for my son’s tuna mac and he devoured it. Soooooo good Kylie! Love how versatile this recipe is.

    • I feel you on the canned tuna – it’s hard to go back!! Wow I still love tuna mac to this day and I will have to use that next time!