From hook to hot fire, tuna done right.
I’ll eat almost anything, with the exception of beef liver and canned tuna fish. Yes, I’ve tried fancy tinned European tuna in salade Nicoise, but I just can’t get over the “canned” aspect. I do, however, appreciate the taste and texture of rare-to-medium-rare yellowfin tuna. And there’s no better way to eat it than with a salad of avocado, onion, cucumber and cilantro, lightly dressed with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice.
Salad with Fresh Grilled Tuna
- 6 to 8 oz. yellowfin or blackfin tuna steaks, about 1 1⁄2 inch thick (1 per serving) dusted with freshly ground black pepper
- 1⁄2 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1⁄2 English cucumber, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 large avocados, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 Romaine lettuce hearts, split
- 3-4 tbs. chopped cilantro leaves
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Juice of 2 lemons
The salad component of this recipe is pretty straightforward: Chop and cut, assemble, dress and gently toss the onion, cucumber, cilantro and avocado pieces. Try to keep the avocado pieces intact. Drizzle with oil and lemon juice.
The tuna part of this recipe is a bit more complicated. I recommend searing the fish over very high heat and prefer a charcoal fire. One trick I’ve learned is to get out a “fire-starter chimney,” load it up with good quality lump charcoal and light it up. When it’s super-hot, put a cake-cooling rack from the kitchen over the chimney and get grilling. Tuna is quick to cook, especially at the high temperatures created by close proximity to the white-hot charcoal. I recommend 45 seconds to a minute on each side of the fish for medium rare. Don’t walk away from the fire; you’ll get overdone fish. It’s also fragile, so taking care to cut the fish and place it over the green salad is essential. FS
Published Florida Sportsman Magazine May 2020