The secret to great tuna steak is in the sauce and seasonings. No matter how you plan to cook tuna, you should become familiar with the best ingredients for tuna steak sauce or marinade.
If you have never cooked tuna before a good idea is to start with ahi. It is inexpensive and has a delicate flavor that many people enjoy. Besides being perfect for tuna steak it can be used in salads and sandwiches. You can grill it, pan fry it, or even bake it in the oven.
Start with a simple marinade. Let’s say you have two ahi steaks about eight ounces each. Mix together a quarter cup of olive oil, a quarter cup of lemon juice, a teaspoon of powdered or crushed garlic, and a dash of salt and pepper. Line a 9×13 pan with foil and pour your mixture in. Put in your tuna steaks, coating them on both sides. Then let them sit in the refrigerator for at least twenty minutes to an hour. Turn the steaks over in the sauce and let them sit for an equal length of time. Some people let tuna marinate overnight.
You can get very creative with these marinade sauces. Use sesame seed oil instead of olive oil, or mix the two together. Or use butter, by itself or with powdered garlic cooked in. Experiment with shiitake mushrooms, soy sauce (not too much), powdered dill and powdered ginger, or fresh ginger cut up fine. Fresh cilantro adds a wonderful accent.
It is very easy to make a cream sauce for baked tuna steak. Cucumber dill sauce is quick and delicious. Peel a large cucumber and chop it very fine. Whip about half a cup of heavy cream and add a spoonful of wine vinegar, salt, pepper and two tablespoons of finely cut dill weed. Mix it all together and spoon it over your tuna steaks.
Another good cream sauce involves four tablespoons of fresh ginger and a few shallots with a cup of heavy whipping cream or sour cream. Cut up the ginger and shallots very fine, add a tablespoon of crushed garlic and mix thoroughly. Put a light coating of oil on the steaks and rub them with a bit of the ginger-shallot combination. The rest goes into a small saucepan with a cup of clam juice and a little less than a cup of dry cooking sherry. Cook until thickened, add the cream and mix well. The ginger-shallot mixture by itself also makes an excellent marinade. Heat it in a bit of olive oil, then let your steaks sit in it for a few hours.
As a side dish, peel and cut some zucchini or butternut squash into one-inch cubes. With a light coating of olive oil and a bit of seasoning, wrap it in foil and bake it or cook on the grill for about twenty minutes. Rice is another good idea. If you want to get fancy, make a risotto with green onions and cheese. Trader Joe’s sells a wonderful Basmati Rice Medley that is perfect with ahi steaks. If you want to keep it simple, just steam some asparagus or broccoli. Pour the marinade sauce right over the rice or vegetables.
Pan fry or grill tuna steaks on high for about four minutes each, or bake at 450F for about fifteen minutes. Be careful not to overcook. Tuna steaks are best served rare to medium rare.
There are numerous health benefits to eating fish. It’s high in omega-3 fatty acids and protein and naturally low in calories. However, if you eat fish regularly, arrange for testing to determine the level of mercury in your system. All fish contains mercury absorbed from industrial pollution. Never eat fish if you are pregnant or nursing. Children should also avoid fish for this reason, as it is known to cause learning disabilities.