Rich and meaty, tuna is as good on the grill as beef. For fish, it is relatively fatty--although not as much as salmon--so it is easier to get good results than it is with leaner or more delicate fish. If possible, buy tuna steaks or tuna fillet labeled "sashimi quality" or "sushi quality." Unless you live on the west coast, tuna will have been frozen, but it still should be clear and red; the finest looks almost like red gelatin--clear and almost transparent. Once you've learned the basics of grilling tuna from this grilled fish recipe and article, I recommend you check out 20 Cookbooks for $20 for more great recipes featuring tuna and other healthy favorites! Grilling fish can be tricky, but tuna is slightly different. Try using these grilling tips to learn how to grill a tuna steak.
Tips for grilling tuna:
- Because of its substance, tuna does well with a short marinade or with a strongly flavored rub applied. Some particularly good matches for tuna are teriyaki, lemon pepper, Italian seasonings or (my personal fave) a Southwest/Caribbean inspired blend of lime, cilantro, garlic and other spices. To marinate 2 pounds tuna steaks or fillets you need the following:
- Juice of two limes
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder (use chipotle if possible)
- 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Combine all ingredients in food processor or chopper. Cover tuna with marinade in a glass or plastic dish or plastic bag and marinate for no more than 20 minutes. If you like, substitute 3 tablespoons orange juice for juice of one of the limes.
- Oftentimes when cooking fish on the grill, it's recommended to use a fish basket. However, tuna does not need a fish basket for grilling, but use one if that makes you more comfortable. Alternatively, cover the grill with aluminum foil. Oil lightly to keep fish from sticking. Use a spatula for turning fish.
- Preheat grill to medium; reduce heat slightly before placing fish on grill.
- Fish should never touch flame directly, and it doesn't take long to cook, so keep a close eye on your grilled tuna steaks. Tuna is done when opaque throughout. Steaks that are one inch thick should take about 8 minutes to cook. Fish that "flakes easily when touched with a fork"--the standard doneness test in many cookbooks--is actually overdone!
- Remove from heat, cover with foil and let rest briefly before serving.