If you serve baked tuna steaks for dinner, you’ll have an entre that’s both delicious and healthy. It will also be an attractive and easy dish. For those that have never had fresh tuna, it is very different from canned tuna. While most people enjoy a tuna fish sandwich every now and then, a fresh tuna steak offers a firm, meaty texture with a delightfully light taste. Tuna is nutrient dense and provides an excellent source of natural Omega-3 fatty acids. These “essential fatty acids” are so-named because our body must have a certain amount of them to function, but it can’t produce them on its own. We must get them through diet or supplements, and most American diets are extremely deficient. Increased Omega-3 consumption is claimed to do everything from improve your cardio-vascular health to improve your mental functioning and prevent Alzheimer’s. If you’re watching your weight, that makes tuna an even better choice. You will get all the healthy benefits in a low-calorie, protein-packed dish.
Choosing Your Tuna
Before you even look at the tuna itself, take a look at the seafood section of the store where you are shopping. Fish spoils faster than meat or chicken, so it’s very important to make sure that the area is clean and fresh-smelling. Make sure that all of the selections look fresh. If you are choosing a tuna steak from a display counter, the fish should be stored on top of ice. Look for pieces that are a deep reddish color without dry or brown spots. When you are first given your tuna, take a quick smell to make sure it doesn’t have any bad odors that might indicate spoilage. If you’re making any other stops on the way home in warm weather, bring along a cooler to store your fish on ice. Refrigerate it as soon as you get home. If you’re unsure about the temperature of your refrigerator, wrap the fish, and put it in a container with ice on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. Freeze the tuna if you won’t be using it within a day or two.
Season the Tuna
Before baking, you can season the tuna. It won’t require much because tuna steaks are very flavorful in their own right. One way to season the steaks is to simply sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Some people like to add a squeeze of lemon juice. Others may like a spicier taste and will sprinkle the fish with a little bit of blackening seasoning. It’s really up to you and your taste, but don’t go overboard. Some people choose to marinade their tuna steaks. If that is your preference, pour the marinade of your choice into a sealable plastic bag along with the fish. Store the bag in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight before baking.
Baking the Tuna
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a heavy baking pan with aluminum foil for easy clean-up. Spray the pan with non-stick spray to prevent sticking. Place the tuna steaks in the pan, and put the pan in the oven on the middle rack. For the best taste, tuna steaks should only be cooked until they are rare to medium-rare. This means that the outside will be browned, but the insides will be white around the edge while the center will still be translucent red. Because tuna is so dense, it will not flake as much as other fish. It will take a little bit of practice to determine the exact time to take the tuna out of the oven. Ovens can vary greatly, so the time would even vary kitchen to kitchen. A good rule of thumb is to bake about ten to fifteen minutes per inch of thickness.