How to Cook Pecan Crusted Tuna Steaks in a Pan

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Fresh tuna is often served seared, but rare to medium-rare inside.
Fresh tuna is often served seared, but rare to medium-rare inside. (Image: Spike Mafford/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Coating tuna steaks with a pecan crust before cooking adds flavor, texture and a bit of crunch to a fresh fish dinner. While you can crust them in any type of nut, pecans add a slightly sweet contrast to the savory tuna. Preparing any kind of fresh tuna steak in a frying pan is fast and easy. Albacore tuna has a faintly pink flesh and is typically cheaper, while bluefin and yellowfin varieties both have a much brighter pink flesh and firmer texture. Enjoy your pecan-crusted tuna steaks with a salad or lightly sauteed greens.

Things You'll Need

  • Pecans, whole or halved
  • Resealable bag
  • Rolling pin or hammer
  • Food processor, optional
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Additional seasonings, optional
  • Small plate
  • Canola oil
  • Skillet
  • Tongs

Place the pecans in a large reuseable bag and use a rolling pin or hammer to crush the pecans to as fine a consistency as possible. Alternatively, you can use a food processor if you have one, pulsing the pecans just until they are coarsely ground into tiny pieces.

Brush the tuna steak lightly in olive oil and season with salt, pepper and additional seasonings, such as garlic powder, paprika and dried herbs, to taste.

Pour the crushed pecans on a plate and lay the tuna steak onto the pecans, pressing firmly to get the pecans to stick. Cover both sides of the tuna steak, as well as the edges with the pecans.

Coat a large skillet with canola oil and bring to a medium-high heat on the stove. Add the tuna steaks and cook for about two to five minutes on each side, depending on how cooked you want the steaks to be. Using tongs, flip the steaks in the skillet to ensure even cooking.

Remove from heat and slice the tuna steak into 1/2-inch slices, or simply serve them whole, whichever you prefer.

Tips & Warnings

  • Restaurants often serve high-quality fresh tuna medium rare. For safe consumption, however, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends cooking fish to a temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, a roughly medium- to medium-well temperature.
  • Purchase high-quality fresh tuna steaks directly from a fish market if you plan to cook it only to medium-rare or medium. The steaks should smell fresh like the ocean, rather than having a strong fishy smell.

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