Recipe video above. The perfect tuna steak is seared on the outside and deliciously rare on the inside. It takes 2 1/2 minutes flat - fastest fish recipe ever! Tuna loin is lean so best served raw or rare if cooked, to enjoy the tender, almost creamy flesh. There's a reason why tuna is a darling of the fine dining scene! Best served just slightly warm or at room temperature. Pictured with Sauce Vierge, a summery, simple French salsa / vinaigerette sauce that pairs perfectly with fish!
Chervil sprigs(substitute small flat leaf or curly parsley leaves) or small edible flowers (optional)
Prepare resting tray: Place a rack on a tray. (Note 3)
Oil and season tuna: Drizzle half the oil over the tuna. Smear over one side, then sprinkle with half the salt and pepper. Flip and repeat.
Heat skillet: Heat skillet (preferably a skillet with grille lines) over high heat until smoking hot. The hotter, the better!
Oil skillet (if required): If your skillet is not well-seasoned, brush skillet with olive oil or take pan off stove and spray with any oil (SAFETY WARNING! Note 4)
Cook first side: Place tuna steak in the skillet (I do one at a time for best results, Note 5) and cook for 45 seconds.
Rotate for grill lines: Turn steak 45 degree. Continue cooking another 45 seconds.
Cook other side: Flip tuna carefully, then leave for 1 minute or until the internal temperature in the middle reads 48°C / 118°F (Note 6).
Rest: Remove tuna from skillet and place on rack. Rest for 5 minutes – it will cool down almost to room temperature. This is desirable for easier slicing and better eating (Note 7) Serve! See Note 2 for sauce options.
Slice, if desired (Note 7): Place tuna on a board with criss-crossing grill lines facing up. Slice the tuna into 4 or 5 thick slices, holding the edges with your fingers as needed to ensure the seared surface doesn't crumble. Transfer to serving plate and separate the slices slightly so they insides are just visible, or on an a slightly angle, overlapping each other.
Sauce Vierge: Spoon the Sauce Vierge over steaks, leaving small piles of tomato here and there on the tuna slices, and a few on the plate. Other sauce options: See Note 2.
Finishing: Drizzle with a bit of olive oil. It looks beautiful as it is, but if you want to raise the bar even higher, add a few small sprigs of chervil and some edible flowers!
Buying – Tuna comes cut into steaks, rather than thin fillets you traditionally see with white fish
It is almost always sold skinless and boneless
A meat thermometer highly recommended – Tuna can go from perfectly rare inside to medium in the space of 30 seconds so the use of a meat thermometer is highly recommended.
Steak size and cook times – The cook times specified in this recipe are for a 180g (6.5oz) tuna steak that is 2.5cm (1") thick.
Thickness of tuna steak also plays a big part in cook time.
2. Serving – Pictured in post with Sauce Vierge, a classic French salsa / vinaigrette which is particularly good with fish. Other ideas:
Mexican salsa – The bright flavours of a Mexican tomato salsa would be wonderful with tuna! Casually dollop it over;
Salsa Verde – A beautiful, fresh herb taste and gorgeous dazzling green colour!
Pesto - A smear of basil pesto on the side would be terrific. Use sparingly as its strong;
Chimichurri Sauce – This South American parsley-garlic-olive oil sauce is a great choice for tuna;
Japanese Ginger Sauce – Use the marinade/sauce in my Tuna Poke Bowl recipe. It's fabulous!
Lemon Vinaigrette – Any vinaigrette is a natural pairing with any fish! Try the dressing in this Brown Rice Salad recipe. You can also optionally gently warm a vinaigrette for serving.
3. Rack on tray – I normally don't insist on a rack (normally I just use a plate) but for tuna steaks I do, because air circulating under the steak means the tuna retains less heat. This discourages "carry over cooking" to minimise the danger of the tuna overcooking while resting.4. Oiling pan – It is best to heat the skillet without oil because it will otherwise smoke terribly.If your pan is not well-seasoned, you can brush the pan with oil along with the fish. Only brush with oil once already hot.If you brush the hot pan, you need to ensure you have a heat-proof brush. Otherwise, take the pan off the stove and spray with oil (never spray a skillet over a lit gas stove – the oil can catch fire easily).5. Cook one steak at a time – Tuna can go from rare to medium in 30 seconds, so even handling two tuna steaks can be tricky when you are seeking "perfection"! So I cook one tuna at a time when I want to ensure it cooks perfectly inside, and also when I want (near!-) perfect grill lines. It takes 2 1/2 minutes to cook and the inside is rare anyway, so it's fine to do them one at a time.6. Doneness of tuna – It is uncommon to see tuna steaks cooked any more than rare inside because it's such lean meat. It tends to be quite dry if it's anything beyond medium rare.7. Slicing and serving - This is optional. It makes for nice presentation and is a way restaurants plate up tuna steak nicely. It also makes it easier to eat.It's easiest to slice when the outside of the tuna has cooled otherwise it is prone to crumbling.TIP: Hold the edges of the tuna together when slicing, to avoid the cooked part from breaking.Best served at a tepid temperature. If you serve it hot, the temperature difference between the outside and inside can seem jarring when you eat.8. Nutrition per tuna steak, tuna only, ie. no sauce.