Tuna steaks appeal to those who want to enjoy seafood but don’t appreciate strong fishy odors. Although fresh tuna can be expensive, the dense, flavorsome steaks are fairly hard to get wrong. Cooking quickly but with conviction will provide a pleasant crust, with the option of leaving the center as rare as you like.
Don’t wash the steaks before cooking as fresh water will discolor the flesh. Simply pat them dry. Bear in mind that thin steaks will always cook to medium, but those thicker than 1 ½ inches give the option of a rare center and seared crust.
Grill or Fry
The biggest challenge with tuna steaks is keeping them moist and tender. A quick, assertive heat manages the task. Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet and season tuna steaks — more than an inch thick — with salt and pepper. Fry the steaks for just 3 minutes per side. The outside will form a crust, but the inside will remain pink. For a well-cooked steak, add a sauce and simmer until the flesh is opaque. Simmering the pan-fried steaks in sauteed garlic, tomatoes and herbs helps retain moisture. Alternatively, reduce a glaze of soy sauce mirin citrus juice and sugar until it is thickened; then add the medium-rare tuna steaks. If grilling, oil the steaks to prevent sticking and place over a hot grill, leaving for 2 minutes for the steaks to develop sear marks. If the steak lifts freely, it is ready to flip. Cook on the other side for 2 minutes.