This grilled tuna recipe is seasonal, savory & sophisticated.
With flavors built around tuna season, this grilled tuna recipe is deceivingly simple to make, yet produces an extremely sophisticated meal. A fresh, bright mixture of tomatoes & basil are combined with briny capers that bring just enough salinity to bring the tuna’s natural ocean flavor to life.
It wasn’t long ago that I was under the impression that tuna steaks were hard to cook. Welp! I was wrong. Very wrong. All it takes to make great tuna at home is a good cut of fresh tuna and a hot grill, or even a just a very hot pan.
What makes great grilled tuna?
The answer is easy. Cooking it correctly and using very good tuna.
The trick to cooking tuna steaks is hot, quick heat, which can be a hot pan or a grill. While there is no trick to achieving flavor, you do need to use fresh, high quality fish. And that’s usually where the problem comes in. Sourcing high quality fresh tuna can be a challenge.
Most tuna we see at the grocery stores, and even at the sushi restaurants, is not very high grade, and more often than not, totally void of flavor. In fact, I rarely order tuna unless I am at a very high-end sushi restaurant, which is not often.
Most supermarket seafood in general is very low quality and often farmed, so you won’t catch me buying it at the local Stop & Shop. Farmed seafood is full of antibiotics and the industry is ripe with disgusting practices that are one thousands times worse for the ocean than wild fish. You can’t trust the word “sustainable” because majority of the time, it’s just simply untrue. Even worse, is the quality of handling and freezing that ruins texture and flavor so easily.
Fresh tuna is yet another example of eating seasonally because tuna is only available in our northeast water for a limited time in the summer. That means, I really only get to eat it a few weeks out of the year. But trust me when I tell you, the minute my local fish monger’s email goes out, The Local Catch, announcing that the Tuna is in, my name if first on their list! It makes it all the more special when you wait each year for the fresh catch. The difference in the flavor and the quality is undeniable.
Some things are just worth the wait.
What kind of tuna should you buy?
Big Eye Tuna is the best of the best. It’s hard to come by, but if you get the opportunity to source it, don’t think twice. Next up, Yellowfin & Ahi, which are similar to one another and more readily available than big eye. All will melt in your mouth when cooked properly, meaning a seared crust on the outside, and raw center.