Julia Child Tuna Recipe blog image

Julia Child’s Thon A La Provencale

Another Friday, another opportunity to cook something new this weekend. I got Julia Child’s Mastering The Art of French Cooking for Christmas and this weekend’s recipe to try is Thon A La Provencale which is tuna or swordfish with wine, tomatoes, and herbs.

But let’s recap in case you’re new.

I’m not a food blogger. I share recipes I’ve tried and if I’d make them again. I hate the word foodie and hefty paragraphs filled with adjectives about the recipe, and photographs that have dusted flour and cutting boards.

You can expect the recipe I used, helpful tricks or what not to do and a couple (probably one) real shots of what it looked like when my bake came out of the oven.

The Recipe:

3Lbs. fresh tuna or swordfish cut into 3/4 inch steaks
9×14 pyrex baking dish about 2.5 inches deep
1 tsp salt
2 Tb lemon juice
6Tb olive oil, more if needed
A skillet
1 cup minced yellow onions
3Lbs. fresh, ripe and red tomatoes, peeled, seeded, juiced and chopped.
2 cloves mashed garlic
1/2tsp oregano
1/4tsp thyme
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 cup dry white wine or 2/3 cup dry white vermouth
1 to 2 Tb tomato paste for added flavor and color
1Tb meat glaze (optional)
1Tb softened butter
2 to 3 Tb chopped parsley

  1. Remove skin of the dish and cut steak into serving pieces. Blend salt and lemon juice in baking dish, then beat in the oil and pepper. Arrange the fish in the dish and baste with marinade. Cover with wax paper and marinate for 1.5 – 2 hours, turning and basting the fish with marinade several times. Drain the fish and dry it thoroughly on paper towels. Discard marinade.
  2. Saute the fish rapidly in very hot olive oil for a minute or two on each side to brown lightly. Rearrange the fish in the baking dish.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Cook the onions slowly in the skillet for 5 minutes or until tender but not browned. Stir in the tomato pulp, garlic, seasonings, and spread the tomato mixture over the fish.
  5. Place a cover or aluminum foil over the baking dish and bring to a simmer on top of the stove. Then set in lower third of preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Pour in the wine and bake for 30 minutes more, turning oven down to 325 as soon as fish is simmering.
  6. Remove fish to serving platter, scraping the sauce off the fish and back into the baking dish. Keep fish warm for about 5 minutes while finishing the sauce.
  7. Boil down the sauce over high heat until it has reduced to about 2 cups. Stir in tomato paste and optional meat glaze. Simmer for a moment, and correct seasoning.
  8. Off heat, beat in the flour and butter paste, bring again to the summer for 1 minute. Stir in the chopped parsley, spoon the sauce over the fish, and serve.

My Findings:

  1. I should’ve used my cast iron skillet instead of a pyrex pan because you can’t cook glass on the stovetop. I Googled it.
  2. You must be VERY careful to not overcook the fish, tuna is SO easy to overcook.
  3. Pop your serving plater in the oven with the fish to keep warm and warm up while making the sauce.
  4. Julia suggests a chilled Rose wine or a dry white, or Riesling. We tried it with rose and I just can’t do pink wine. I’d suggest a dry white instead.

Ps: I used tuna from WholeFoods and did not opt to add in meat glaze (mostly because I hadn’t any prepared and I underestimated how much time it was going to take to cook the tuna and it was 8PM by the time we ate, both the Hubs and I were HANGRY).

If you don’t know wtf seeding, peeling, juicing and chopping a tomato means check out this really simple tutorial, here. Discard the seed/pulp mixture and chop up the remaining tomato to complete step 4.

Pss: The tomato mixture is the tomatoes and the next 5 ingredients.

Would I Make It Again?

Hell yes. It was the best damn sauce I ever made and who doesn’t love good Tuna?!

Julia child’s tuna steak recipe

Julia Child taste test blog image

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2 thoughts on “Julia Child’s Thon A La Provencale

  1. Tracy says:

    Thanks for the feedback. I was on the fence about baking tuna for so long. I will keep my eye on it. Going to try this tonight. I too got the JC cookbooks for Christmas and have been dying to try something, anything!

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