Tuna steak is a great alternative to beef steaks (especially when you binge on beef like I do). It’s a light, tasty meat that melts in your mouth and it’s fishy only in the sense that it tastes an awful lot like beef.
Tuna steak, the beef from the sea
Steak Society has no beef with Tuna steak. Like the puppet who always wanted to be a real boy, Tuna is the fish that always wanted to sprout legs and munch on greens. Tuna is so strikingly similar to beef (despite being a fish) that we highly recommend it to all our beef steak fans.
In this feature we’re going to deep dive into Tuna and understand more about this wonderful fish, what to look for if you’re eating out and how to cook a Tuna steak if you want to eat in.
The Cow with fins
Tuna is a special fish for reasons beyond its taste. There are 15 species of Tuna found around the world and there are massive differences between these species (from tiny tuna to cow sized tuna). We’ll focus on the Tuna must likely to make it into your mouth: the blue and yellow fin tuna. These tuna are from a species called Thunnus.
Thunnus Tuna can live for up to 50 years (in the case of the Atlantic bluefin tuna). Mature yellow fin Tuna can reach a weight of up to 200kg and Atlantic blue fin tuna has been known to reach almost 700kgs. Tuna this big would be as heavy as a cow.
Tuna is also special because it’s warm blooded. These fish can maintain their blood temperature between 25 and 33 degrees (Celsius) in most of their habitats. Tuna has red flesh, unlike most fish which have whiter flesh. The flesh is red because Tuna have significantly more myoglobin (a red pigmented protein that stores oxygen in muscle cells) in its muscles. The warmer, oxygenated blood that is delivered to the Tuna’s muscles help it to achieve speeds of almost 50kmph.
Tuna steak, done properly, consists of a thick piece of steak ideally from the back of the Tuna. The steak should be seared on the outside of the steak and rare in the centre. This will result in a delicate steak that is warm on the outside, room temperature in the middle and melts in your mouth.
It’s worth noting that Tuna steak is a healthy food choice. Tuna is high in protein and omega 3-fats which are great for avoiding scary things like strokes and heart attacks. This isn’t a health blog, but if you’re interested in the health benefits of Tuna you can read more about it here.
If you want to know where to eat Tuna steak or how to cook it yourself, we’ve outlined a couple of tips below.
If you want to try Tuna steak at a London restaurant we recommend one of our favourite steakhouses; Macellaio RC.
Macellaio RC’s Exmouth market branch specialises in Tuna Steak. The Tuna steaks are a little different from the tuna you’ll find in other restaurants. The tuna steak is from Atlantic blue fin Tuna that is caught by Sicilian fisherman. The Tuna is cleaned and gutted immediately after being caught. Once in London the Tuna is then dry aged for a week in the restaurant.
The steak is crumbed in bread and herbs before being cooked and served.
The result is a tuna steak so tender it almost falls apart as you try to eat it. Eating it is incredible, it’s unnecessary to chew. The tuna will simply dissolve on your tongue. The taste is not strong, but there’s briefest reference to the sea. If you want to know more about Macellaio RC’s Exmouth market restaurant you can read our review here.
If you’re cooking at home we’ve got two great approaches to cook tuna steak. The first is a simple five step technique and the second is a slightly more advanced method with a sauce that compliments the Tuna.
The basic five step process
- Selecting the Tuna steak
- Preparing the Tuna steak for cooking
- Cooking the tuna steak
- Resting the tuna steak
- Eating the steak
Lets go through these steps in detail.
- Selecting the tuna steak
- You want to get some thick tuna steaks. Go for the thickest chunk of Tuna you can find. The steak should be at least an inch and ideally 1 1/2 inches thick. If you supermarket has a fish counter, try get it from there.
- Preparing the Tuna steak for cooking:
- Rest the Tuna for an hour before cooking. The aim here is to bring the meat to room temperature and ensure that the middle of the Tuna isn’t going to be cold after the flash cooking it. Rub some olive oil into the tuna and then season with rock salt and pepper.
- Cooking the tuna steak:
- Get your pan hot (ideally a girdle pan for that Instagramable seared look). The pan should be so hot that you get an instant sizzle the moment you place the tuna in it. Now the tuna is going to cook fast. One minute each side (depending on how your cooking it) should be enough to give you a beautifully seared tuna steak.
- If you want to sear the sides you can use tongs to pick up the steak and sear each side for 5-10 seconds. If you have thinner steak you may need to reduce the cooking time.
- Don’t overcook the Tuna, it will result in flaky and dry steak (lets avoid killing the Tuna twice).
- Resting the tuna steak:
- Rest the meat for a couple of minutes in a warm place.
- Cut the tuna against the grain into thin strips.
- Eating the tuna steak
- Enjoy. Serve on a warm plate to ensure the Tuna doesn’t get cold.
Tuna steak with a delicious sauce
This isn’t one for the purists, but there’s a delicious sauce that works very well with Tuna steak. Following the recipe below as part of the second step “Preparing the Tuna for Cooking” for the best results.
- 1 Lime
- 50ml Japanese Soy sauce
- 50ml Olive Oil
- Three minced garlic cloves
- A small amount of Ginger (by taste)
- A small bunch of Coriander
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