When it comes to seafood, tuna is one of the first choices that comes to mind. Packed with omega-3 fatty acids and proteins, it is one of the most highly consumed seafood in the world, especially in the United States. This is not only because it tastes so very incredible but also because tuna is a very healthy food choice since it can lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Another perk for those that are health conscious is that tuna has a low fat and calorie content, making it appropriate to include in diets. So is there any reason for you to not indulge in this seafood, be it in the form of sandwiches or even casseroles?
One of the most famous forms that tuna is eaten in is grilled tuna. This is an exotic and delicious seafood steak that is sure to leave you spellbound with its taste. It can be customized to your own needs as tuna pairs up beautifully with any type of seasoning.
For those of you home cooks who plan to make grilled tuna and have done your research, you already know how easy it is to make. However, though it may sound and look easy, grilling tuna perfectly requires quite a bit of knowledge. It is the details that matter in order to make a dish come together. So if want to know all the secrets and tricks behind grilling tuna perfectly, then keep on reading.
Preparing The Grill
Your first and foremost task is to prepare your grill, letting it heat up properly. Put the charcoal in the chimney and wait for it to heat up, pouring it on the grill when it is done. If you wish to use a gas grill, let it get heated as well. Wait as long as you need for the grill to get hot properly or else it may ruin your tuna completely.
Before you start the process of heating the grill, there are a few things you should keep in mind. The first thing you need to know is that your grill should be seasoned. This will protect your tuna or any other thing you plan to grill, from getting stuck to the grill grates.
Most people make the mistake of cleaning their grills beforehand with cleaners or water which washes away the seasoning on the grill. Simply dusting your grills with a brush is all you will need to do in order to get rid of the burnt particles.
However, if you have already have done the deed and ended up cleaning your grill, no need to panic. Tuna has enough fat itself to not require any extra in order to get cooked. In your case, nonetheless, you will be required to put some oil on the grill grates. Choose an oil that can withstand the heat and does not tend to burn and release smoke. Vegetable oil and peanut oil fit the category perfectly.
Many of you may try and use olive oil but it has a low smoke point meaning it will burn and smoke up pretty fast. This will eventually lead your tuna to taste “off” as it will absorb the flavor of the burnt olive oil.
Seasoning The Tuna
This step is completely up to you to do as you please. As we mentioned before, tuna can be seasoned with your choice of spices and still taste great. However, in order to really taste the fish, go for the most common and mainstream seasoning – salt and pepper. These two will give the tuna just the right flavors and still allow you to get a really good taste of the fish.
You can obviously go ahead and add twists and turns of your own. If you go basic, make sure the salt you use is sea salt or kosher salt. These are the most common ones used by chefs. Feel free to substitute these with table salt but keep the proportion in mind and use less of it as table salt is much saltier in comparison to the other two. If you use the other two, you have to use more so you get the taste right. You should be just fine if you follow the recipe and do what it calls for by substitute the salts accordingly.
Grilling The Tuna
Once the grill has been heated and you have your tuna seasoned, it is time to grill it. Before you just toss the fish slices, which by the way should be around 1.5 inches thick, on the grill, check if your grill has been heated to the right temperature. There are thermometers available in order to check the temperature of grills. Adjust the heat accordingly in case you have not been able to nail it.
If the thermometer reads the temperature and it is lower than your desired temperature, turn the heat up. On the other hand, if it is above the desired temperature, turn the heat down till it reaches the perfect temperature.
Another technique you could use is putting your hand an inch above the grill grates. The amount of time you can hold it above the grill will tell you if the temperatures need adjusting. Your tuna will be ready to be grilled to perfection when you can hold your hand above the heated grill for a maximum of 4-5 seconds. If you can hold it for longer than 6 seconds, the grill is not hot enough to grill the tuna. Turn the heat up in this case. On the other hand, if it is impossible to hold your hand for less than 4-5 seconds, you will need to make adjustments to heat, bringing it down or you could readjust the time needed to grill the tuna.
You will also need to adjust the time if your tuna slices are thinner or thicker than 1.5 inches. Cut the time down if the pieces are thin. For thicker ones, add more time on the clock.
Now, the amount of time you use to grill the tuna will determine the internal temperature, which in turn will determine what state your tuna is in. In order to have a rare tuna steak, grill each side for 3 and a half minutes. For a medium rare one, you will need to grill both sides for 4 minutes precisely. Grill each side for 4 and a half minutes to get a medium grilled tuna steak. Grilling each side of the tuna for 30 more seconds (5 minutes) will give you grilled tuna that is medium well. For a steak that is well, grill both sides for 6 minutes.
Once the grilling is done, take the tuna off the grill and spritz some lemon juice to give a little twist. If you plan to hold the fish after cooking it, spritz the juice just before serving it.
It is advised to serve the grilled tuna immediately but if you do not plan to do this, reduce half a minute (30 seconds) from the allotted cooking time and wrap the fish in aluminum foil making sure it is not too tight. However, you should only do this for a maximum of 15 minutes because beyond that, the freshly grilled tuna will not taste as good.
That is all you need to do to have the best grilled tuna. You can serve it with almost anything you like and garnish it as you like. Just remember that when grilling tuna, it tends to dry out pretty fast. Hence avoid cooking it for a long time. Otherwise, your tuna is bound to taste great if you have followed all the steps accordingly. And remember, anything that you do earnestly with enough effort put into it, will certainly pay off!