River Terrace Inn Tuna Belly Niçoise Salad

A perennial favorite, salad niçoise, gets gourmet treatment with Chef Jordan C. Mackey of the Restaurant Cuvée, River Terrace Inn. Sushi grade tuna belly is garnished with a cornucopia of salad ingredients including niçoise olives, roasted tomatoes, roasted Meyer lemon and fleur de sel.

Servings: 8

Cook Time: 1 hour

Pair With: A Chardonnay or Pinot Gris.

Source: Recipe and photo courtesy Chef Jordan C. Mackey, Restaurant Cuvée and River Terrace Inn.


3 pounds sushi grade tuna belly
17 ounce very good quality extra virgin olive oil, in three parts, plus extra
12 small fingerling potatoes
2 hard boiled eggs
8 plum tomatoes
3 small red cipollini onions
40 petite French beans, blanched
4 Meyer lemons
rosemary fleur de sel
cracked black pepper
1/2 cup pancetta, diced small, then rendered until crisp
40 pitted niçoise olive olives
8 ounces wild arugula


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Cut the tuna belly into eight 6-ounce pieces and place in a vacuum bag with 12 ounces of olive oil and place in a vacuum bag. Seal and set to chill.

Boil the fingerling potatoes until tender, then chill. Chop the hard boiled egg and set aside. Peel the plum tomatoes, cut into quarters, remove the seeds and lay on a baking sheet. Drizzle tomatoes with salt, pepper and 4 ounces olive oil. Bake for approximately 45 min to 1 hour, depending on the oven (tomatoes should be a deep red and about half dry).

Slice the onions into thin half moon slivers. Halve the Meyer lemons, trim ends and blacken on the grill or on a hot skillet until juices caramelize.

Using an immersion circulator or a very precise thermometer, heat a pot of water to exactly 139 degrees. Cook the tuna belly in the bag for exactly 13 minutes at 139 degrees. Remove from water, open the bag and allow tuna to rest over a wire rack.

Halve the fingerling potatoes, season with fleur de sel and pepper and lightly sear in 1 ounce of olive oil.

Slice each piece of tuna into three 2 ounce pieces and arrange on a plate. Toss the potatoes, tomato 'petals', French beans, olives, cipolini with a little olive oil and fleur de sel. Arrange them around the tuna and season the top of each piece of tuna with fleur de sel and cracked pepper, then top each piece of tuna with a little chopped egg, and crisp pancetta.

Toss the arugula with olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Arrange in a little "haystack" over the center piece of tuna. Drizzle olive oil over the plates, and place a grilled lemon on each. Garnish with additional fleur de sel, and freshly cracked black pepper.

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Chef's Notes:

Editor's Note:

The recipe calls for cooking the tuna sous vide in an immersion circulator or water bath; vacuum seal bag required.

Recipe Courtesy Of

River Terrace Inn

Set upon a quiet bank of the Napa River, River Terrace Inn provides a peaceful retreat for those seeking the ideal blend of modern elegance and laid-back California charm in close proximity to the energy of Downtown Napa.