Grilled Tuna Steaks with Tomatoes & Capers

By Christina Collins

Seasonal, savory & sophisticated.

With flavors built around tuna season, this dish 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 is takes to make great tuna at home is a good cut of tuna and a hot grill, or even a just a very hot pan.

What makes great tuna?

There are two components to making great tuna steaks- cooking on high heat & elevating the tuna’s natural flavor. The trick to cooking tuna steaks is hot, quick heat. The trick to achiving flavor is using 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. And worse off, is the quality of handling and freezing that ruins texture and flavor so easily.

Seasonal Eating

Freshly caught yellowfin tuna.

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 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.


Somethings 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 left raw in the center.

Season a good cut of tuna with EVOO, salt & pepper. Cooking with kosher salt is really important. Diamond Kosher salt is what I recommend.
Grill Tuna on very high heat for 1 minute per side.

A topping of tomatoes, capers & basil finishes the dish.

Grilled Tuna Steaks with Tomatoes & Capers

Simply grilled tuna steaks are topped with with tomatoes, capers and fresh basil are the perfect summer dish!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cuisine Mediterranean, Seafood
Servings 2 people

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb high quality Tuna steak (at least 1 inch thick) (Recommended Big Eye or Yellowfin)
  • 1 cup 1/4 inch chopped plum tomatoes (sliced longways, seeds and core removed)
  • 2 tbs thinly sliced scallions
  • 3/4 tsp minced garlic
  • 3/4 tsp diamond kosher salt, or to taste (plus extra for seasoning steaks)
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, or to taste (plus extra for seasoning steaks)
  • 1 tbs champagne vinegar
  • 3 tbs evtra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup basil

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your grill as hot as it goes. Mine is 600 degrees F and it works great. Make sure your grates are clean.
  • Prep and portion the ingredients, except for the basil.
    chopped tomatoes, scallions, garlic and capers on a plate
  • Combine the tomatoes, garlic, scallion, capers, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 3 tablespoons EVOO & 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar. Mix gently and set aside. (Do not mix in the basil. Keep the basil set aside.)
    tomatoes & capers in bowl
  • Drizzle tuna steak with olive oil
    olive oil being put on tuna steak
  • Season the steaks with salt
    tuna steak being seasoned with salt
  • Season the steaks with ground pepper
    raw tuna
  • Rub the sides and add more seasoning if necessary to ensure all sides are coated
    tuna steak
  • When the steak is well seasoned, place it on the hot grill for 1 minute for rare tuna steaks.
    Tuna steak on grill
  • Armed with both tongs and a good spatula, flip the tuna and cook for 1 minute more.
    Tuna steak on grill
  • Remove from grill and let the tuna rest while you finish the topping.
    grilled tuna steak
  • Julienne the basil and and mix it into the tomato & caper mixture.
  • Slice the tuna across the grain.
  • Plate the tuna slices and top with the tomato & caper salad.

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