For much of my life, tuna fish meant that chopped-up stuff from a can that my mom would mix with mayonnaise, onions and pickles and spread between a couple of pieces of white bread for me to take to school for my lunch. Who knew that tuna was also something you could eat like a regular fish?
Nowadays I'm pleased to see tuna steaks popping up on restaurant menus and in supermarket seafood displays. Tuna offers a lot more delicious possibilities than good ol', boring ol', tuna salad!
Tuna especially lends itself to grilling. If you want to grill tuna, go to the store or seafood market and look for the pinkest fish you can find. Tuna flesh happens to be among the pinkest of all fish, because it contains more of the oxygen-binding molecule called myoglobin. The flesh of some tunas even runs to dark red because of this.
In general, the pinker/redder the tuna, the better. Following the Japanese system, the best tuna is termed "sashimi grade," and although what that means exactly is subject to some dispute, it includes color along with fat content and freshness. Sashimi tuna is bright red.
Sashimi is seafood that is sliced thin and intended to be eaten raw. For grilling purposes, you can do with a lesser grade, but it's still good to know a little about what constitutes the best tuna before you make your selection.
Here are a couple of easy grilled tuna recipes that I like.
Grilled Tuna Steaks: Recipe 1
4 tuna steaks
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon fancy mustard
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1. Lay tuna steaks in a shallow dish.
2. In a bowl, stir together the soy sauce, brown sugar, mustard and cooking oil to create a marinade.
3. Pour the marinade over the tuna steaks. Carefully (so as not to break them up), turn fish until coated on each side with marinade.
4. Cover dish with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours.
5. Get your grill hot. Remove tuna from refrigerator, pouring off the marinade into a bowl to use for basting. Grill the tuna steaks for approximately 12 to 16 minutes, basting frequently and turning midway through the process.
Grilled Tuna Steaks: Recipe 2
4 tuna steaks
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 to 2 inches fresh ground ginger root
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1. Place tuna steaks in a shallow dish.
2. In a bowl, whisk together olive oil, lime juice, ground ginger root and garlic sauce. This is your marinade.
3. Pour marinade over tunas. Gently turn fish until coated on each side with marinade.
4. Cover dish with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator for 1 hour.
5. Get your grill hot--for this recipe, a charcoal grill is definitely the best way to go. Remove tuna steaks from refrigerator. Grill tuna steaks for 10 to 15 minutes. Be sure to turn them at least once during the grilling.
When you serve your tuna steaks, you can garnish them with lemon wedges or sprigs of parsley. Grilled peppers, onions and mushrooms make great accompaniments.
Sarah Sandori is the food and entertaining columnist for the Solid Gold Info Writers Consortium. Have you ever wanted to be able to exactly duplicate a favorite dish from a favorite restaurant? Check out Sarah's article where she reveals her source for the most mouth-watering secret restaurant recipes in America: http://www.solid-gold.info/most-wanted-recipes.html