It wasn’t as if we didn’t have choices. We could choose if we wanted to buy our tuna in pouches or cans and packed in water or oil. We also had the choice of serving it in either a sandwich or a casserole. This was the extent of what I knew about tuna the first four decades of my life. Fresh tuna steaks? Whoever heard of such things?
Well, fresh tuna steaks have often been described as “the fillet mignon of the sea.” The meat’s texture is dense and firm, and its color can vary from pale pink to a rich dark red making it an elegant and colorful dish that’s absolutely delicious.
Fresh tuna can be prepared in a number of ways, but my personal favorite is to cook it much the same way as a steak. The outside is seared, and the inside is cooked from rare to medium well-done. It can be served simply with salt, pepper, and lemon juice or served with a wonderful sauce.
I recommend the ginger-shiitake cream sauce (recipe below). It will taste best if both the ginger and the mushrooms are fresh. Add a splash of Chardonnay along with the soy sauce and a rich pleasing taste emerges. It can be served with other varieties of fish as well, and it’s an especially good sauce to serve with swordfish.
Fresh Tuna Pan-seared With Ginger-Shiitake Cream Sauce
1/4 cupScallions sliced
1/8 cupItalian parsley chopped
1 1/2 TbspGinger fresh chopped
3 clovesGarlic chopped
4 oz.Mushrooms shiitake sliced
4 TbspSoy sauce
8 oz.Cream whipping
2 TbspLime juice
4Tuna steaks 6 oz. about 1 inch thick
2 TbspCanola oil
GarnishItalian parsley sprigs and lime wedges
Enter Target Time _______________
Prepare small dishes (mise en place) of all ingredients ahead of time.
Time: __________ (20 minutes prior to target time)
Turn burner to medium, add butter to a medium skillet and melt.
Add scallions, parsley, ginger and garlic. Sauté 30 seconds.
Mix in mushrooms and soy sauce and simmer 60 seconds.
Add whipping cream and simmer until sauce lightly coats back of spoon, about 3 minutes.
Stir in lime juice, and cook until it thickens. Remove from heat and set aside giving it an occasional stir while cooking the tuna.
Heat oil in a large skillet over med-high heat until it smokes.
Sprinkle one side of tuna with pepper.
Place tuna steaks, pepper side down, in oil and sear 2 minutes (or 1 minute if you like it raw) on each side.
Remove the tuna from skillet to a dinner plate. You can keep it uncut, or you can thinly slice it and fan the slices.
Spoon some of the sauce onto the tuna. Be sure that the tuna isn’t completely covered (especially if you have fanned the tuna slices). Garnish with lime and parsley.
Note: A nice Chardonnay pairs well with the cream in this sauce. Also, fresh peas are a great side along with Italian bread and homemade butter.