While it may not pack the prestige of its yellow- or blue-finned cousins, blackfin tuna works just fine for cooking or preserving, offering a particularly attractive option for those who yearn for smaller servings -- these fish come at a fraction of the size of yellowfins. Compared to yellowfin, bluefin or albacore tuna, you don't have to do anything different to bake blackfin tuna, though due to its diminutive size, you'll likely be working with single steaks.
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Prep Your Tuna
Before baking, pat your blackfin tuna dry with a paper towel -- there's no need to wash the fish before cooking. To conduct heat, add a subtle flavor and prevent sticking, lightly coat an oven dish with a few teaspoons of extra-virgin olive oil. Place the tuna in the center of the dish and brush the top of the steak with a light layer of oil as well.
Heat It Up
As you prep your blackfin, preheat your oven to about 350 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. For a single blackfin tuna steak, which typically measures about ¾ inch thick, cook on the center rack for about 15 to 30 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily when cut with a fork. Depending on your preference, you can cook blackfin all the way through or leave a tender streak in the middle of the meat. For safe consumption, the center of the fish should clock in at a minimum of 145 F.
The fishy flavor of blackfin tuna lends itself to many different types of seasonings. Classics such as sea salt, black pepper, garlic and red chili powder lend a savory or spicy edge to baked blackfin, while basil, coriander and oregano offer cooler tones. Add your seasonings before baking, via sprinkling or rubbing, to lock in the flavor. For a more intense taste, slice your blackfin steaks and insert slivers of garlic or whole cloves. You can also sprinkle on a light coating of breadcrumbs to give your baked tuna a crispy finish.
More Tuna Tips
For any type of tuna, blackfin or otherwise, freshness is absolutely paramount to taste, so cook your blackfin as soon after purchasing as possible. For a slow-roasted alternative, saute your blackfin steak in oil for about 12 minutes and bake uncovered at 200 F for roughly the same amount of time. For a quicker baking times, wrap the tuna in oiled foil and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes in the 350- to 375-F range. Whether baked with the tuna or made into a salad, veggies such as those made with capers, red onions and cherry or plum tomatoes accent this dish particularly well.