How To Buy And Store Fresh Tuna
Any method of cooking tuna will produce the best results if you start with a good piece of tuna. Here’s what to look for.
- Fresh tuna comes in a long loin that a fishmonger cuts into tuna steaks. Tuna season is usually late spring into early fall, but it’s available frozen year-round. If you’re wondering how to cook frozen tuna steak, you can follow the instructions above after thawing the tuna steaks in the fridge for 24 to 48 hours.
- Raw tuna varies from light pink to a reddish-brown color, depending on the variety. It can have a dark portion on the steak, which is edible but stronger in flavor. Sometimes this part is trimmed out before you buy it.
- Tuna steaks are sold skinned. Look for tuna with moist flesh and a fresh and pleasant, not fishy, smell.
- When purchasing, figure on one 4- to 5-ounce tuna steak per person. For optimum freshness, cook tuna the day you buy it.
If you’re anything like us, now that you’re practically a pro at how to cook tuna steaks in various ways, you’ll find as many ways as possible to sneak fish recipes into your family’s meal plan. Your taste buds and your heart will thank you .
Helpful Tips And Variations
Are you hungry yet? If so, youre not alone! This amazing recipe is a favorite at my house, and its so easy to make especially with these handy tips and easy recipe variations.
- Tuna Steak Thickness: This recipe works best with tuna steaks that are at least 1 inch thick. Thinner steaks will overcook in this amount of time. If you only have thin tuna steaks, try cooking them for a maximum of 30 seconds per side.
- Sushi Grade Tuna: In general, sushi or sashimi-grade tuna is good for making seared tuna steaks. This kind of tuna has typically been frozen to kill any bacteria or other bad guys, making it safe to serve raw or rare.
- Spice Blend: While the blackening spices make this dish extra delicious, you can skip them if you prefer, and season your tuna simply with salt and pepper. OR grab this store-bought blackening seasoning.
- Slicing: Unlike other meats, which can be eaten bite by bite, tuna steaks should be sliced thinly after cooking for the best texture and flavor.
How To Bake Tuna Steaks
Here’s how to cook tuna steak in an oven to keep your stove top free for whipping up a side dish.
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Lets Make Tuna Steaks
Since this recipe takes such a short time to cook, its best to have your sides prepared in advance. Once the tuna hits the pan, youve only got a minute or two until dinnertime!
The Type Of Tuna Matters
There are at least fifteen fish varieties in the tuna family. The most prized is the immense Atlantic bluefin tuna, but its now so rare, and its better to let it be. Still, the second-best is without a doubt the ahi or yellowfin tuna this one you can enjoy any day of the week!
Yellowfin tuna is a bit smaller than the largest tunas out there, weighing up to 440 pounds, but its flesh is melt-in-your-mouth delicious, especially if cooked right. Thats why were here to help, starting with the most crucial question, what is an ahi tuna steak?
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What Is Ahi Tuna
Ahi tuna is type of tuna that is divided into two different species: yellowfin and bigeye. And its often cheaper than bluefin tuna, with a very similar flavor profile and texture. You can usually find it frozen at Trader Joes or your local grocery store for very inexpensive.
While I love salmon, it can be a bit pricey. And tuna, like salmon, is healthy and has an array of serious health benefits .
A seared tuna steak is a bit different than the canned tuna everyone is used to. For one thing: it comes in a whole, beautiful raw steak that holds its form much easier than other kinds of fish, which may tend to flake apart.
For another thing: it is usually cooked medium-rare: seared on the outside, red on the inside.
It actually looks very similar to a beef steak in this regard. It. Is. AMAZING.
Ahi Tuna Steak Basics
Here are the basics steps for preparing Ahi Tuna Steak at home:
Buy the fish. Get your hands on some fresh, sushi-grade Ahi Tuna filets.
Take your fish out of the refrigerator. Prepare the marinade and cover the fish with it. Set it aside and let it marinate for about 20-25 minutes. This will allow the fish to come closer to room temperature and absorb some of the marinade flavors.
Sear the fish. Heat up a non-stick or cast iron skillet over very high heat. Place the steak and sear for about 1-3 minutes on each side, or until the steak reaches the desired doneness. When searing Ahi Tuna steaks, it is important not to overcook them the fish tastes best when rare in the center .
Serve the fish. Cut the Ahi Tuna steaks against the grain into ½-inch thick slices. Drizzle with the reserved marinade.
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What Goes With Tuna Steaks
This is a dish that deserves an awesome side dish or two, dont you agree? With that in mind, Ive collected a few ideas here for inspiration! Check out these mouthwatering sides and bon appetit!
- Potato Wedges: Crispy, herbed potato wedges are a favorite with seafood. These easy Grilled Potato Wedges are irresistibly flavorful, crisp on the outside, and steamy on the inside! Make them on the grill or a cast-iron pan.
- Summer Squash: Colorful yellow squash, zucchini, and red onions make a beautiful side dish, especially when loaded onto skewers and grilled! Grilled Summer Squash Kebabs have all that summery vegetable flavor, and theyre healthy as well.
- Asparagus: This succulent green veggie is always welcome, especially in this unusual recipe for Parmesan Panko Asparagus Fries! Coated in a crunchy panko topping, these bright and tender asparagus spears are basically irresistible.
How To Cook Tuna Steaks In A Skillet
Searing tuna steaks in a hot skillet caramelizes the surfaces of the fish and locks in the moisture. For best results when mastering how to cook tuna steak on a stove, start with ¾-inch-thick steaks.
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Easy Pan Seared Ahi Tuna Steaks
Making seared ahi tuna steaks at home may sound daunting, but this fish cooks quickly and is extremely easy to work with! I brush mine with soy sauce before coating it in a sesame seed blend that makes a gorgeous crust when seared.
This recipe is a good one to keep in your back pocket for when you have dinner guests. It’s always impressive and can be made in under 10 minutes, what’s not to love?
Can You Freeze Ahi Tuna Steaks
Yes, you can freeze ahi tuna steaks both raw and cooked.
For raw ahi tuna, first, wrap the fish in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil or place it in a zip-top bag to seal it. Freeze for up to three months. If you remove ahi tuna from the freezer and don’t end up using it, you cannot freeze it again. Ahi tuna should never be frozen again if previously frozen.
For cooked ahi tuna, freeze the leftovers in an airtight container or wrapped in aluminum foil and stored in a zip-top bag. Freeze for two to three months.
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How To Season Tuna
The first step in your complete guide for how to cook tuna fish is adding your desired flavor enhancers.
- Before cooking tuna steaks, check for scales. If any are present, rinse with cool water. Pat dry with paper towels.
- Measure the thickness of the fish with a ruler, so you know how long to cook tuna steak.
- Fresh tuna steaks love a good marinade recipe, which flavors this fairly mild fish and helps keep it moist during cooking. A short marinating time is all it needs, from 15 minutes to 4 hours in the refrigerator. Tuna pairs especially well with Asian-inspired flavors.
- Instead of marinating, you can brush the fish with olive oil or melted butter and season as desired. For example, try brushing tuna with olive oil and lemon juice, then sprinkle it with snipped fresh herbs , salt, and ground black pepper. Or try one of these delicious spice blends.
Where To Get Saku Tuna
- If your grocery store makes sushi in-house, then they very likely have Saku tuna- just ask if you can buy a block. Locally I purchase it at Huckleberries from the Sushi Department.
- Purchase from a Sushi Restaurant. More than not they are happy to sell a block of frozen Saku Tuna.
- Order online. This company offers frozen Saku Tuna Block.
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Health Benefits Of Ahi Tuna
Along with being delicious, ahi tuna is nutritious. In fact, working ahi tuna into your regular diet comes with a range of health benefits. Check out five health advantages of eating tuna below.
Prepare And Store Your Ahi Tuna Filets
Now that youve removed the lower loin from the tuna, you can cut the fatty belly away. Trim away any rib bones remaining on the fishs lower loin. You can either cut out the bloodline immediately or just before using the tuna.
Skin all your filets and reserve cold. Make sure you trim away any tough tail ends as well as soft front ends. To store your ahi tuna for a day, wrap it in sushi paper and place it on a tray in the fridge. For longer-term storage, wrap the ahi tuna in sushi paper, vacuum seal it and freeze the fish as cold as possible.
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How To Store And Reheat Leftovers
- Leftover seared tuna steaks can be refrigerated for two or three days at most, and should be covered well or stored in airtight food storage bags.
- To reheat, place the tuna steaks on a hot pan or grill, and re-sear. Dont overcook. Its easiest to do this if you set the cold, refrigerated steaks out on the counter for 5 10 minutes before reheating, so that they are less cold when they hit the pan.
How To Cook Tuna Steaks 3 Ways
Tuna steaks need a watchful eye during cooking to remain tender and moist. Don’t be turned off if your tuna looks medium-rare, whether you’re baking tuna steak, skillet-cooking tuna steak, or grilling it. Because tuna steaks get dry and chewy when overcooked, the center should still be pink when it’s done cooking. Some people like their tuna even more rare in the center, so adjust these suggestions on how long to cook tuna steaks accordingly.
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What Is Sushi Grade Tuna
Sushi grade or sashimi-grade tuna is fish that can be safely eaten raw. It is usually processed on the boat and flash frozen to prevent parasites.
Most grocery stores will indicate that the tuna is sushi grade. If not, ask if it is considered sushi grade. Although we are not going to be eating raw tuna, it will be quickly seared and be rare in the middle.
Ive never had a problem with the tuna I have bought even though it wasnt labeled sashimi or sushi-grade ahi tuna.
The best tuna will have a deep pink or red color. Lesser grades will look light pink and translucent and should be avoided.
Dry Oil And Then Season The Tuna
While your grill is preheating, you can prep your fish. It’s important to dry the fish well on both sides, using paper towelsminimizing surface moisture helps speed the searing process along and reduces the chances of the tuna sticking to the grill.
To that end, I also like to lightly rub the dried steaks with a neutral oil like canola or vegetable oil. It’s just one more bit of insurance against sticking.
Salt draws moisture out of proteins like fish and other meats, so I make sure to sprinkle it on the tuna at the last second. After we’ve made sure to dry the surface of the fish well, the last thing we want to do is get it wet again before putting it on the grill.
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Does Ahi Tuna Steak Need To Be Cooked Through
Sushi grade tuna, such as Ahi Tuna, is generally not cooked through in the sense of being well-done it is almost always served medium-rare. The searing should cause the outer inch or so of the tuna to be cooked all around, with a nice pink interior.
However, if you dont like medium-rare tuna, you can cook it longer just until the interior begins to change color and is no longer translucent. Dont overcook, or the tuna will be tough, dry, and hard to chew.
Is Ahi Tuna Steak Healthy
Because of the high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, consuming tuna fish helps reduce omega-6 fatty acids and LDL, or bad cholesterol, in the arteries and blood vessels.
Tuna fish is packed with protein. Proteins are the building blocks of our body, which guarantee growth, faster recovery from illnesses, improved muscle tone, and overall metabolic efficiency.
Read further:The Nutrients in Ahi Tuna
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Grilled Blackened Tuna Steak With Mango Avocado Salsa
This recipe is light, bright, and perfect for summer.
It packs a powerful flavor punch especially if you make your own blacked seasoning from staples from your pantry.
Of course, to save time, you can always use pre-packaged blackened seasoning.
Either way, its spicy, meaty, and incredibly savory.
Pair it with a light mango and avocado salsa, and its magic on a plate. Eat it alone for a carb-free meal, or pair it with rice and crisp summer veggies. Yum!
How To Cook A Tuna Steak
Whether you cook your steaks in the grill, a cast-iron skillet or the griddle, make sure you cook each side for between 2-4 minutes over high heat, flipping just once. Preserving a pink core is critical here. This means that your tuna steaks are ready in just over thirty minutes, already considering the marinating time!
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