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Grilled Tuna

Updated on October 24, 2020
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Lee has a degree in philosophy, but when cooking, Lee is more like an experimental scientist than an abstract thinker. Loves new ideas.

Grilled Tuna Steak

These were frozen, but now are thawed and ready to be prepared for the grill. It is good news, is it not, that something that was frozen can look this good when thawed. It means that we can have tuna steaks stored away for whenever we need them. They are so delicious when grilled, in fact, that we will need them often.

They can be eaten just like this -- sliced thin and served with wasabi, soy sauce, and preserved ginger. Tuna sashimi. And that is delicious. However.

They can also be grilled, quickly -- quickly! -- so that just the surface is cooked, preserving all of that sashimi-like character inside. This what might be called flash-grilling adds a special taste.

Big, of the end result

Preheated grill

We want to heat our grill to as hot as it can possibly get. That is because our goal is to sear each side of the tuna for a minute and a half, no more. We are not out to warm the tuna steak, so much as to leave the interior of it cool, or even cold, and to add a layer on either side which will contain that coolness and freshness of the raw tuna.

Start by brushing a little canola oil on each side. This is not for flavor, but rather to make it easier to turn the steaks over when each of those minutes-and-a-half ends.

To repeat: this whole approach depends on a preheated grilled turned up to the max.

These shown here, after the first minute and a half, look good enough to eat, do they not? Love those grill marks; they add so much culinary interest.

Cutting board ready

Our quick trip to the superheated grill has now resulted in this beautiful piece of fish on our cutting board. Just look at that!

On our particular grill, grill marks like these do not often appear -- with a softer fish like salmon, for example, they appear but not nearly so distinctly. But with tuna steaks they stand out and announce their presence.

There are of course many ways to take advantage of this. A luscious marinade/sauce of mustard, lemon and EVOO can be prepared and served over this steak, along with grilled vegetables and/or a salad. This is what we do with many other fish, and can do with swordfish.

-- Another time. No olive oil this time, no mustard, no lemon. Here we are going to slice this beautiful steak into thin strips and serve them sashimi-style with a dipping sauce appropriate to the Sea of Japan.

Inside story

The sashimi-style rareness of the inside of the steak is immediately apparent as soon as we start slicing. The grill-searing of each side of the steak can readily be seen, and the reddish color of the original fish is also apparent. Exactly what we were hoping for.

This looks beautiful, smells beautiful, and tastes beautiful. Or will taste beautiful as soon as we prepare the dipping sauce.

Our cutting board is outside

And this is what the strips look like out there before we bring everything inside.

This is only one of the two steaks we grilled.

I have prepared this for a party on occasion, which is easy to do since the tuna steaks spend so little time on the grill. Slicing them up into strips is something that can be parceled out to other interested guests, if you have butcher's knives and cutting boards for them. Again, the quickness with which everything can be prepared is a great advantage.


And on the plate. Lighting on the table here makes the tuna appear a bit different, colorwise, but these are the same strips -- and the same delicious flavor.

Here we also see the other items we are going to use: the wasabi (1 o'clock), the ginger (12 o'clock), and the soy sauce (11 o'clock). Mix the wasabi and the soy sauce together and we come up with something delicious in which to dip pieces of tuna before we eat them. The ginger is eaten with each bite rather is the way someone at a deli might eat a dill pickle with the Italian cold cut sub on the menu.

Our own independent invention is to add a few cornichons. This semi-sweet French mini-pickle adds a certain je ne sais pas to the tuna semi-sashimi we have here.

Let the search engines figure that one out!


Rice noodles prepared with a little broth or stir-fried are a good accompaniment to this dish. These were prepared with the broth.

It all looks pretty wonderful, but you really have to taste this to appreciate how wonderful it really is. Chopsticks are not essential, but if you can use them, they add a note of authenticity here.

And they say this is a most healthy meal as well.

Imagine that.

Really big

Parting facts

Tuna come in various species, and each has its culinary adherents. Overall, though, tuna is a tremendously important commercial fish -- so many people love tuna!

A 2009 report by the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation gives some background: "Between 1940 and the mid-1960s, the annual world catch of the five principal market species of tunas rose from about 300 thousand tons to about 1 million tons, most of it taken by hook and line. With the development of purse-seine nets, now the predominant gear, catches have risen to more than 4 million tons annually during the last few years. Of these catches, about 68 percent are from the Pacific Ocean, 22 percent from the Indian Ocean, and the remaining 10 percent from the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea."

Real meal

Real Meal. Unlike fancy food mags, where images are hyped and food itself is secondary, all pix shown here are from a real meal, prepared and eaten by me and my friends. No throwing anything away till perfection is achieved. This is the real deal --- a Real Meal.


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