Monday, October 14, 2013

Not Your Mom's Tuna

If you're already a seafood lover, you know how delicious a tuna steak is.  If you've only had tuna sandwiches, or tuna casserole, allow me to introduce you to a truly delightful dish that will wow company and save you oodles of time.  Ahi tuna.

Ahi, also known as Yellow Fin Tuna, is almost fat free, and tastes a little like swordfish.  It's not "fishy" tasting, but mild and scrumptious.  And it cooks in 2 minutes.  Crazy, right?  But stay with me, here.  Fresh Ahi is expensive (sashimi grade), but look for sushi grade, which is often frozen, and thaw it.  It will still be wonderful.  You do not have to make sashimi or sushi; you can cook this in a skillet or on the grill. And it's basically a 3-ingredient dish!

You want to sear this rare.  Now, don't panic and think it will be bloody and blue like a rare beef steak would be. It's rosy red, but tender and perfect.  One thing that will surprise you, is that it will not taste like a tuna sandwich.  I happen to love tuna sandwiches, but it's another whole experience.

Next time you open a can of tuna, before you mix it with the mayonnaise, check out the texture. It's dry and crumbly, right?  Nobody eats a can of dry tuna (cats excluded).  It has been overcooked.  And this is what will happen if you try to cook your ahi "medium" or "well."  It will turn tan, dry out and crumble.  We compensate for canned tuna by mixing it with mayonnaise, to save the day (or other creamy ingredients in a casserole).  And it works.  But wait 'til you taste it as a steak.  Here's what you need:

2 (5 or 6 oz.) ahi steaks
4 Tbsp. cooking oil (I mix olive or coconut oil with butter, equal parts-- keeps the butter from burning)
salt and pepper to taste

Heat your oil in a skillet over high heat.  Add the steaks.  Salt and pepper them.  Cook them 1 minute per side (or 2 at the most, if they're thick).  Slice thinly and serve.  Ta-da!  It's that easy. Serves 2.  Dinner will be on the table in no time.  BUT... here are some variations you can try:

1. Once you slice the steaks, serve them over a salad tossed with a tangy Asian dressing.

2. Coat your steaks first, with your favorite rub-- it could be sesame seeds, soy sauce and brown sugar, honey and thyme, a purchased spice blend, cilantro and lime-- anything you like, even salad dressing.
3. Grill them instead, again just 1 to 2 minutes per side.  
4. Marinate them first, just to infuse them with more flavor-- try a wasabi ginger mix, teriyaki, soy, or any Asian flavored marinade.  But don't marinate them for more than 30 minutes; you don't want the acids to make the steaks mushy. 
5. Just serve them, as un-cut steaks, along with other sides (rice, veggies, etc.)-- what a fast, easy supper!

No comments:

Post a Comment