Hawaiian Kanpachi Niçoise Salad

         WITH CHEF PALEY                SERVES 4                  TIME: 25 MINUTES

Heart Healthy and Delicious!




Part: Hawaiian Kanpachi Filet- Loin and Belly

The French have a genre of salads that are referred to as salade composée, composed salad. These salads are made up of several ingredients, some cooked some raw that are generally not tossed in a bowl but arranged artfully on a platter. Salade Niçoise is a perfect example of this genre. The most famous American counterparts in the composed salad repertoire are perhaps Cobb salad and Crab Louie.

Now, back to Niçoise, Olive oil poached, Hawaiian Kanpachi Niçoise, to be exact.

I like to use the belly side of kanpachi filet for this preparation as it has an overabundance of natural fats. When cooked slowly and gently in a flavorful oil, these fats hardly render, which result in a velvety texture. Think of the best possible olive oil packed jarred tuna, but so much better. Once you make this yourself, you might never buy another can of tuna again.

As far as the other ingredients in this salad, feel free to alter at will. Shop for what’s freshest and in season where you are and get creative.

You will notice that in this recipe I suggest cooking potatoes, eggs and string beans in the same pot. While cooking at home, I am mindful of how many pots I must wash after I am done. I am also conscious of my energy, water consumption in the kitchen. So, for the reasons above, one pot, one burner, whenever possible, makes perfect sense.


(Serves 4)

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

5 large cloves of peeled garlic

4 sprigs of thyme

2 bay leaves

8 to 10 ounces of skinless and boneless Hawaiian Kanpachi filet, preferably from the belly side

kosher salt and ground black pepper

6 to 8 small red potatoes

2 large eggs

4 ounces string beans, trimmed on both ends

I small head of lettuce like bib, oak, or little gem, separated into leaves, washed and dried

1 medium cucumber, washed, dried, and sliced thin

4 small radishes, washed, dried, both ends trimmed and sliced thin

2 medium size ripe tomatoes, washed, dried, cored and cut into wedges

¼ of small red onion, peeled and sliced thin scallions

1 small or ½ larger fennel bulb, cut in half, cored, and sliced thin

½ cup your favorite mix of olives, pitted or unpitted

8 anchovy filets, optional

3 tablespoons champagne or white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

¼ cup scantly packed fresh basil leaves, washed, dried and hand torn


PoachingTo poach kanpachi, add all the olive oil into a medium, straight sided sauté pan big enough to accommodate all the kanpachi pieces in single layer. With a back of the knife, on a cutting board smash the garlic cloves then place into the pan with oil. Follow with thyme and bay. Place the pan on a burner and turn the heat to low. Watch the pan closely. You want the oil to come to a very light simmer. As you start to notice tiny bubbles come up to the surface, set the timer for 3 minutes. While the oil is simmering, season kanpachi on both sides with salt only. When the timer goes off, carefully place the fish pieces in a single layer into the oil. Keep it going on low heat until you start seeing those tiny bubbles again, about 3 more minutes. Using a spatula flip the fish over and turn the heat off. As the fish cools, the oil will continue cooking it. Allow kanpachi and the oil to come to room temperature. Keep the fish submerged in the oil the whole time. This cooling process may take about 45 minutes to an hour. You can also poach kanpachi the day or two before making this salad. If you do, gently transfer the fish after it cools into a small bowl, pour the oil and its contents over the fish, cover and refrigerate.

While the fish is cooling, place the potatoes into a medium size pot. You will cook the eggs and beans in this pot as well together with potatoes so make sure it is big enough. Cover with water to come up about two inches over the potatoes. Season the water with salt and over high heat bring to a boil. After the water boils, carefully add both eggs together and cook for 9 minutes to 10 minutes. Take the eggs out and place them to cool into bowl prepared with ice water. Add the beans into the pot with potatoes and cook until beans get greener in color and soften up a touch, about 3 minutes. Carefully, using a slotted spoon or thongs, transfer the beans into the ice bath as well to stop their cooking. Check your potatoes buy inserting a paring knife into one of them. If you feel resistance, cook them until you feel no resistance. This might take another 10 minutes. When done, take potatoes out of the water and allow them to come to room temperature naturally. Do not submerge them into ice bath. As potatoes cool, they will dry as well.


Make the vinaigrette, while potatoes are cooling. Using a slotted spoon take the fish out of the oil, gently shaking it over the oil allowing it to drain. Place it on a plate and keep the fish at room temperature if making a salad right away. Cover and refrigerate if not. Using a slotted spoon or thongs, remove, drain and discard bay leaves and thyme. Finally, remove and drain the garlic. Place garlic on a cutting board, chop it finely then transfer into a separate bowl. Add the mustard and vinegar into that bowl, season with salt and pepper and whisk together. Slowly, drizzle in all the oil while whisking to create an emulsified vinaigrette. Don’t worry if it breaks, it’s going to taste great either way. Stir in the torn basil and set aside while making the salad.

i-8js8HG5-4KTo assemble the salad, place the lettuce leaves on a large oval or round platter in single layer to make the bed for the rest of the ingredients. Try and alternate and overlap the leaves if using more than one kind of lettuce. Use your judgment as to placement of the rest of the ingredients. You can either pile them together next to one another or place them randomly around the platter. I like to do a combination of both. Place the poached kanpachi in the center of the platter. Cut the potatoes in half and place them on top of lettuce around the platter. Peel and quarter the eggs and place them around the platter as well. Follow suit as you like with the rest of the ingredients then serve right away with vinaigrette on the side.



*Before we start cooking, I would like to impart some knowledge. The French describe this technique by calling it confit…. which means to cook something slowly in a fat at low temperature for a long time. Think duck confit and pork carnitas. Oil poaching, in English, might best describe this method of cooking but is a bit of a misnomer. Let me explain. One can only poach in a liquid like water, wine, or broth. Oils are a form of fat that can solidify when chilled so technically, this cooking method is better described as low heat frying. Not as appetizing as oil poaching, I agree, but I digress. The best thing about this method as that it allows the fish to cook slowly and gently so it has time to absorb the flavors of the garlic and herb infused oil. As a result of this observation while describing a tasty dish rather than a definition of method from a dictionary, I prefer to treat this as a culinary euphemism and stick with “olive oil poached” as the best way to describe this technique.



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