How to Broil Tuna Steaks

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Tuna steaks are often served rare.
Tuna steaks are often served rare. (Image: PicLeidenschaft/iStock/Getty Images)

A broiled tuna steak makes for a dinner that appears elegant, but takes only minutes to get onto the table. A meaty fish with flaky flesh and a strong flavor, tuna benefits from short bouts of high-heat cooking, which helps prevent it from drying out. Marinate the tuna first, or finish it with a quick sauce for the most flavor.

Selecting a Steak

Choose fresh tuna steaks -- they have the best flavor and quality for broiling. They should not smell fishy, but rather have a meaty aroma. A deep, dark red flesh also indicates a quality steak; brownish or maroon-ish coloring could indicate a steak cut from near the bone that will have a strong, and sometimes unpleasant, flavor. Albacore tuna steaks are lighter red in color and often less expensive than bluefin, a highly sought after variety, and yellowfin. Go for thick steaks, because these are less likely to become dry when broiled. If you opt for flash-frozen tuna steaks, allow them to thaw in the refrigerator -- don't try to speed up the process by placing them in the microwave or on the counter.

Prep the Steaks

Pat fresh tuna steaks dry so they develop a tasty crust when broiled; excess moisture encourages steaming. Brush the tuna with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper or a blend of spices such as allspice, coriander and cinnamon. Tuna steaks do well with assertive flavors. Alternatively, marinate the steaks for about an hour in a mixture of your choosing. Tuna is especially delicious when paired with an Asian-inspired marinade, such as one made with soy, ginger, garlic and lemon.

Broiling Technique

Preheat your broiler to high. Place the steaks on a broiling pan and insert the pan into the oven so that it's just about 4 inches from the heat source. Keep the oven door slightly open while broiling -- this helps prevent steam from building up inside. You'll maintain a hot, dry oven environment that encourages a good crust to develop on the steaks. Broil for about 3 minutes on each side. Thicker steaks may require a minute or two extra, but you want the meat to remain pink in the center.

Serving the Steaks

Slicing the steaks before serving reveals the band of white-cooked flesh surrounding the pink middle. Top the tuna with an herb-infused butter sauce or a tangy vinaigrette. A freshly made fruit salsa also complements the silky texture of the fish.

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