What do you like to make with fresh tuna?
October 28, 2004 1:13 AM   Subscribe

a) What do you like to make with fresh tuna?

b) What are other interesting ways in which you've seen it prepared?

(Leave out the stuff involving raw fish e.g. sashimi.)
posted by madman to Food & Drink (17 answers total)
Hm... difficult, as I firmly believe that anyone that applies more than a very fast searing to beautiful fresh tuna should be hit in the face with a brick.

Hopefully a very fast searing is enough for you!?

Try rubbing a tuna steak with a mix of coarsely chopped basil, coriander and parsley, mixed with a little lime juice, salt and pepper, a chopped up clove of garlic and some chilli powder (or nice smoky spanish paprika is good too). Slap it on a very hot grill pan or barbeque for less than a minute each side until attractively seared. Serve with fresh fat chips (fries) a salad and some fresh mayonnaise spiked with lime juice.
posted by bifter at 2:18 AM on October 28, 2004

How about a Salade Niçoise: here's a recipe that uses fresh tuna.
posted by misteraitch at 2:50 AM on October 28, 2004

Coat with peppercorns and sear. You can also make blackened tuna similarly.

But, yeah, it's hard to enjoy fresh tuna that isn't raw or near-raw, IMHO. It's worth the effort to get over any misgivings about raw fish you might have.
posted by mkultra at 3:10 AM on October 28, 2004

Cut into chunks, marinate for a few hours in lemon or lime juice, peanut oil with a few drops of sesame oil added, lots of crushed ginger and garlic, soy sauce, pepper, chili to taste, green onions, and chopped coriander leaves (cilantro for you Americans). Put it in the fridge and stir every hour or so. Serve raw at room temperature, or if you insist, strain the marinade out and stir-fry on very high heat for 1-2 minutes.
posted by fuzz at 3:14 AM on October 28, 2004

But, yeah, it's hard to enjoy fresh tuna that isn't raw or near-raw, IMHO. It's worth the effort to get over any misgivings about raw fish you might have.

Depends on the quality....I used to buy cheap raw tuna steaks in Japan that had a fair amount of chewy fat in them....horrible raw, but very nice cooked (not overdone).
posted by SpaceCadet at 3:39 AM on October 28, 2004

Yeah, that's true, SpaceCadet. I'm a bit spoiled living in NYC, where almost all tuna is sushi-grade. Let me, then, qualify my previous statement that if you're going to buy standard-issue supermarket "fresh" tuna (shrink-wrapped on a styrofoam plate), you probably want to cook it until at least warm (or marinate in a high-acid marinade like fuzz recommends). I'm assuming, however, that madman is talking about truly fresh, good quality stuff.
posted by mkultra at 4:14 AM on October 28, 2004

I usually roll it in oil then sesame seeds, sear and serve with a ginger-soy sauce.

But if you have to cook the shit out of a tuna steak...
Tuesday night I made Thon à la Provençale from Mastering the Art of French Cooking (pp. 219-20).
Basically you brown the steak in oil, set it aside; in the oil cook some tomatoes, onions, garlic and herbs. Put the fish back in, the cover and put into a 325° oven. After 15 minutes, add white wine, cook for another 30 minutes. Remove fish and set aside; cook sauce down with a roux, serve. Really, really great!

Aside to Madman: I still haven't made your larb but will!
posted by mimi at 5:53 AM on October 28, 2004

Response by poster: Well, he brought in the whole fish (so not shrink-wrapped on styrofoam plate) and we'll clean it up in my restaurant kitchen.

I'm sorry folks; I just can't stomach raw fish and meat. Lightly cooked, sure.

I might just do what an adventurous chef should do and wing it using instinct. There's plenty of tuna in two fishes, so even if something flops, there's more raw material for experimentation.
posted by madman at 6:25 AM on October 28, 2004

You have TWO WHOLE TUNAS sitting in your kitchen? I hope you document the process, with photos!
posted by mimi at 6:34 AM on October 28, 2004 [1 favorite]

Pinch of salt, dusting of pepper, then grill or broil 'em to taste.

Soak in OJ for 10 or 15 minutes, grill or broil.

Along with everyone else: sear hot and fast. Try this with a large cut, roll it in sesame seed, and slice into medallions.

Ginger and tuna go hand in hand. Grab a root and a hunk of fish and figure something out.
posted by majick at 6:49 AM on October 28, 2004

I'm assuming, however, that madman is talking about truly fresh, good quality stuff.

In the case of good quality tuna, I'm totally with you - leave the fish alone!! :-)

I love raw tuna with just a bit of shouyu and wasabi.
posted by SpaceCadet at 7:03 AM on October 28, 2004

Madman, I've never had sushi or sashimi - the idea turns me right off. But one time a few years ago at my Mom's she was cooking seared ahi tuna steaks. When I saw how briefly she was "cooking" them I was very squeamish and asked "uh...mom? shouldn't those be cooked longer?" She said "son, do me a favor. Try one like this. If you truly don't like it, I'll put yours back on to cook longer." So I tried it, and whaddya know, I did like it. So I can now imagine one day trying sushi, based on that experience, though I still haven't.

So basically don't be too afraid of the seared, near-raw, tuna. Especially if it's really good and fresh to begin with.
posted by dnash at 7:34 AM on October 28, 2004

For the scraps, make tuna burgers. There's a good recipe in the Union Square Cafe cookbook, which I'm sure you'll want to adapt since you're cooking for a restaurant.

Also, not really answering the question, but on the topic of tuna - if you like your tuna very fresh and only barely seared on the outside (I call this "flame-kissed"), use a kitchen torch instead of searing it in a pan.
posted by Caviar at 7:51 AM on October 28, 2004

If you have fresh whole tuna in your kitchen, you absolutely must eat the toro raw. Give it a shot.

(For the best description of where to find the toro (fatty belly), read Jeffrey Steingarten's It Must Have Been Something I Ate.)
posted by Vidiot at 8:22 AM on October 28, 2004

As a way of edging up to more raw tuna, you might try a delicious dish they make in Hawaii called "ahi poke":

* 2 pounds fresh tuna steaks, cubed
* 1 cup soy sauce
* 3/4 cup chopped green onions
* 2 tablespoons sesame oil
* 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
* 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper (optional)
* 2 tablespoons finely chopped macadamia nuts

Combine in a bowl, and refrigerate for at least two hours (but preferably overnight).

Unlike a ceviche, which is basically what fuzz recommended above, the tuna is still basically raw when you serve it, but it's well-marinated with the seasonings, and really, really good. (In a ceviche, the acidity of the citrus juice actually cooks the proteins in the fish, but through a chemical reaction, rather than heat.)
posted by LairBob at 9:09 AM on October 28, 2004

I've never had sushi or sashimi

The first time I ate sushi, it was a revelation. This is what fish is supposed to taste like! The texture is so much better. It's greater than the difference between succulent chicken and so dried out you can barely choke it down chicken.
posted by callmejay at 10:02 AM on October 28, 2004

The belly area is softest and most suited to cooking as an intact piece. There are some really nice Italian recipes (ventro al tonno?) for this part.

Tuna smokes well, so you might want to investigate hot-smoking over tea leaves.

Note that the marinated recipes above make the fish look cooked and give it a cooked texture - even if you don't like the idea of raw fish you should try these. You would never know you weren't eating chilled pre-cooked fish.

Apart from that, guess what? Tuna is not a great fish for cooking.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 4:15 PM on October 28, 2004

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