Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Know Thy Fishmonger

I failed. Not once but twice. Both times I over cooked my tuna steaks, and they turned out horrible. Cooking salmon seems to be easy enough - especially with the skin on. You just toss it in the pan with some oil over medium heat. Then I usually flip it over for a minute or so and presto! Delicious. Tuna - not so much.

The tuna steak is interesting because it bridges the gap between surf and turf (sort of), giving non-red-meat eaters something to be excited about. Typically the tuna that I eat comes in a can, and most of it tastes and smells like cat food. Enter Tonno. This is tuna packed in olive oil and a little salt and is downright delicious. When I lived in Charlotte, I found it at Harris Teeter, but I have been unable to find Tonno at our local Giant. I might have to venture over to Wegmens to find it. That place has everything you could ever want. In fact, I'm pretty sure I could live there - permanently.

This is great if you are on the go or need to make a quick meal, but what if you have more time? What did I do wrong? Did I need to marinate it? Obviously, I needed to cook it less, but how much less? How pink can you leave it?

After a little digging these seem to be consistent tips for cooking your best tuna steak:

  1. Make sure your fish is pink and has a firm flesh. (thinking back, my tuna was more of a gray then pink - gross)
  2. Buy the steak the day you intend to cook it, or put in fridge overnight. Do not freeze the steak. (I had it in my fridge for 4 days, but to be fair I don't think it was fresh to begin with. Sorry Giant)
  3. Marinate over night for best flavor (I should have done this)
  4. Use salt and pepper to taste (Check)
  5. Put heat source on high (Check)
  6. Sear both sides for 3-5 minutes. Do not cover. (Perhaps over cooked by a few minutes, plus I covered it. Now, I'm breaking rules left and right)
  7. Allow it to cook 1/4in on each side, still rare in middle is fine. (Definitely not still rare when I was done)

So, now that I have some tips I'm going to go back to the grocery store to give this another shot. Do you have any favorite tuna steak recipes? Here are two that look uber tasty and paleo-friendly too.

Recipe 1: Blackened Tuna Steaks with Mango Salsa
Recipe 2: Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna Steak

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