Escolar (White Tuna)
Poached in Extra Virgin Olive Oil
with Sea Beans, Potato Crisps,
and Light Red Wine Béarnaise


Serves 4


At the restaurant one day, we got the idea for the red wine in this sauce while making brown butter. Since it doesn't use any eggs, it's much lighter than a true béarnaise, but the wine gives the illusion of lightness to the rich fish.

The Potato Crisps

  • Canola oil for deep-frying
  • 1 Yukon Gold potato, scrubbed
  • Fine sea salt

The Red Wine Béarnaise

  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon minced shallot
  • 3 tarragon sprigs
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 3 tablespoons
  • Brown Butter Sauce
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground white pepper

The Tuna

  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Four 4-ounce white tuna (escolar) steaks
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground white pepper

The Garnish

  • 1/2 teaspoon thinly sliced tarragon leaves
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons minced shallot
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 4 to 5 sea beans, broken into 2-inch pieces

For the potato crisps, heat the canola oil in a small deep pot to 300 degrees F. Using a Japanese mandoline, slice the potato into very thin slices (about 1/16-inch thick). Using a 1-inch round cutter, cut circles from the slices; you need 20 slices total. Fry the potato circles in the hot oil until golden brown and crisp. Drain on a paper-towel-lined plate and season with salt.

For the red wine béarnaise, combine the wine, vinegar, peppercorns, shallot, tarragon, and thyme in a saucepan, bring to a boil, and reduce the liquid to 2 tablespoons.

Add the brown butter sauce to the reduced wine. Then gradually whisk in the butter. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a small saucepan and season with salt and white pepper. Set aside.

For the tuna, heat the oil to 160 degrees F in a large sauté pan over very low heat. Season the tuna on both sides with salt and white pepper, place it in the pan, and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, turning once, until medium-rare to medium. Test for doneness by inserting a metal skewer into the center of the fish; when left in for 5 seconds, it should feel just warm when touched to your lip. Transfer the fish to a paper-towel-lined plate and allow it to rest for a few minutes before slicing.

While the tuna is cooking, mix the tarragon, shallot, and black pepper in a small bowl. Gently warm the red wine béarnaise.

To serve, slice the tuna into 1/4-inch-thick slices and arrange down the center of each plate. Sprinkle a little of the garnish over the center of the slices of tuna and place the potato crisps and sea beans on top. Spoon the warm red wine béarnaise around the plates, and serve immediately.

Note from Eric: Use a sharp knife to prevent the tarragon from bruising while cutting.

  • from:
    On the Line
    Inside the World of Le Bernardin
  • by Eric Ripert and Christine Muhlke
  • Artisan 2008
  • Hardcover; $35.00 (US) $39.95 (CAN); 240 pages
  • ISBN-10: 1579653693
  • ISBN-13: 9781579653699
  • Reprinted by permission.

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