Grilled tuna presents a completely different taste than canned tuna. The strong texture and flavor of the fish stands up to sauces. The sauces add moisture to a fish that sometimes is dry when grilled too long. Take the tuna off the grill when the interior is a dark to light pink -- the darker the pink, the rarer the tuna. Complement grilled tuna with a simple sauce or go all out with a more complicated sauce.
Lemon and butter is a simple sauce for tuna. Whip lemon juice and zest into softened butter until blended. Add a few capers and your sauce is complete. Red grapefruit juice has some of the sourness of lemon juice, but with a bit of sweetness. Substitute red grapefruit juice for the lemon juice, if you prefer. Garnish the tuna with grapefruit segments or use the grapefruit in a salad to serve alongside the tuna. Blood oranges taste like other oranges, but the juice and fruit are bright red. Grate the rind of the citrus fruit, but not the white pith into the sauce, if oranges are the citrus you prefer.
Dill's sour pickle flavor goes well with tuna. Chop the dill with scallions, garlic and ground black pepper. Add a squirt of lemon juice to bring out the flavor of dill, but not enough to overwhelm it. A good substitution for dill is thyme and parsley, if you instead have these herbs handy. A chimichurri is a concoction of herbs and olive oil that has been blended into a smooth consistency. Chop cilantro and a clove of garlic. Blend with a stream of olive oil. Serve immediately over the tuna. Garnish with bright pink pomegranate seeds, which add a bit of color and sweetness.
The flavor of tuna won't fade under spicy sauces, unlike milder fishes such as tilapia or Dover sole. Southwest spicy sauces include a verde salsa made with fresh tomatillos, green chilies and cilantro. The Italians would favor a chopped tomato, basil, red pepper flake and caper sauce. Grill the tuna to rare -- dark pink in the middle. Combine lemon juice, lime juice, chopped tomatoes, chopped jalapenos, garlic and fresh oregano in a blender. Whirl until smooth and serve over the slices of grilled tuna.
High quality, extremely fresh tuna is used in sushi, served with wasabi, pickled ginger and soy sauce. Use those ingredients in an Asian inspired sauce for tuna. Blend the wasabi with fresh grated ginger, rice wine vinegar and soy sauce. Garnish with sesame seeds and chopped scallion.
- Food Network: Tuna Steak
- "License to Grill"; Chris Schlesinger; 1997
- "Classic Mexican Kitchen"; Jane Milton; 2001
- Photo Credit Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
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