Ask most people and they’ll tell you that tuna is best served raw. That’s because it’s a very lean fish and the lack of fat makes it dry out easily when cooked. Most grilled preparations of tuna will have you sear the outside, but leave the middle raw.
For those of you squeamish about eating rare fish, or if you want to try something a little different, fully cooked tuna can be delicious if prepared right. The trick is to infuse it with olive oil overnight, and to cook it until it is still just a little pink in the center.
The oil keeps the fish from drying out while the salt, garlic and lemon zest in the marinade add plenty of flavor. It’s great served alongside a salad, or in a bun with some lettuce and tomato. For a fresh take on a Niçoise Salad, try serving this with a salad of lettuce, tomatoes, haricots vert, red onions, boiled egg, and Niçoise olives.
Lemon Grilled Tuna Steaks
- 4 tuna steaks, 1” thick
- 1 lemon (Meyer lemons work best)
- 3 medium cloves of garlic, grated
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt (halve if using table salt)
- 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Use a vegetable peeler to peel the zest off the lemon. Use a sharp knife to cut the zest into long thin strips.
- Rub the tuna steaks with the garlic, and then sprinkle both sides with the salt and pepper. Put the steaks in a large freezer bag, and then scatter the lemon zest across them. Drizzle the olive oil all over the tuna, and seal the bag, pressing out as much air as you can. Put the tuna in the fridge overnight to marinate.
- When you are ready to grill the steaks, take them out of the fridge while you heat up the grill (about 15 minutes). The grill should be very hot when you put them on. Grill one side until you see the red tuna turn beige about 1/3 of the way up the side. Flip, then grill the other side until you can only see a hint of pink from the side.
- Serve the tuna steaks with a salad.
Yield: 2-4 servings
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marc’s been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.