Grilling is a great cooking method for tuna. In fact most chefs would say it is the best one to choose, because not only will you get a wonderful smoky flavor from a charcoal grill, but you will also get appealing grill-marks on your fish. First make sure you have a good piece of fish. The color should be deep red and there should not be any dark patches.
It is important to preheat the grill to a high temperature before you begin, so give it plenty of time to heat up. If you have a charcoal grill, you can either cook your fish on a preheated grate over direct heat, or you can cook it directly over a charcoal chimney. For the second option, light the charcoal in a chimney until the coals burn, then put a rack or grilling grate over the chimney. The rack or grill must be very hot so the tuna does not stick, and also so it gets a good sear.
Two minutes per side over a very hot grill will give you a juicy rare piece of fish, but make this three per side for medium-rare. Instead of cooking the tuna for two minutes on one side and then two minutes on the other, you can cook it for two and a half minutes on the first side and then one and a half on the other side if you like.
If you want it more done, just leave it cooking for longer. You can cut into the fish to see whether it is red, pink, or brown in the center. If you already know you want it cooked to medium or more, then have the grill quite hot instead of very hot, else the outside will cook too fast.
How to Keep it Juicy
Tuna is very lean and can dry out quickly on the grill. Although marinating and applying oil will help to reduce this, if you cook it beyond medium-rare it will be dry. To combat this, serve it with a sauce or salsa on the plate. If you plan to serve the tuna with a topping like a sauce then you will not need to do much to the fish prior to cooking.
Brushing it with some oil and then seasoning it lightly with salt and black pepper will give you the makings of a great tuna steak. The topping will ensure added moisture and flavor.
Another idea is to marinate it in something light and yummy. Anything with acid will probably cook your fish before it even hits the grill, so the marinade you use should be quite mild. Go with some extra-virgin olive oil, and your favorite herbs or spices.
If you want to, you can add a small amount of lemon juice, lime juice or flavored vinegar, but only marinate the fish for ten minutes or so, and watch to ensure the acid is not ‘cooking’ the fish too early.
Serve your grilled tuna with a wasabi sauce or perhaps a balsamic reduction. To make the second one simply boil balsamic vinegar until it thickens. Do this outside if you can, or have the window open, because the smell is intense. The resulting sauce is fantastic though.
Picture, recipes and/or content upgraded: 01-20-16
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