23 May2009

Seared Tuna Steaks

by Marketman


I love raw tuna and eat lots and lots of canned tuna. But for some reason, I am not a big fan of tuna steaks, which despite their popularity, along with salmon steaks, never seem to be done quite right. You can go the fancy chef-fified way and serve it nearly blood red at the center, a bit like sunburned sashimi, or it can be incredibly dry and totally unappealing to the palate. But I continue to experiment every once in a while when the opportunity comes up in hopes of finding a decent recipe that will become part of the regular line up of dishes in our home. Such an opportunity presented itself last weekend…


One of the pieces of tuna I purchased at the seaside market was NOT the finest it could be… in other words, i wouldn’t have served it sashimi style. So I cut it into steaks instead, stuck in in a marinade made of orange juice, soy sauce, olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic and stuck it in the fridge for an hour or two.


I heated up a cast iron griddle on the stove top and seared the tuna steaks for a couple of minutes on each side. They tasted pretty good, but they were a bit overcooked probably due to the fact that I had cut them a little too thin. Maybe I just have a bias against tuna steaks, but I don’t think I would repeat this recipe very often. If you have a fool proof way of preparing tuna steaks, please leave me a comment. I haven’t given up, perhaps I just haven’t found the right recipe yet…




  1. joan says:

    brush your tuna steaks with butter while grilling them.

    May 23, 2009 | 11:33 am


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  3. fried-neurons says:

    Like you, I find fully cooked tuna steaks too dry. I like it when there’s just a thin ring of cooked tuna on the outside, and the inside is still raw.

    May 23, 2009 | 11:48 am

  4. artisan chocolatier says:

    MM, I thought you were on vacation? Can’t seem to let go, huh? hehehe.

    Like fried-neurons, I like mine raw to pinkish on the inside. But I like it just the way you have it in the first picture for the outside.

    May 23, 2009 | 12:25 pm

  5. A scientist in the kitchen says:

    This is how I love tuna steaks. And there’s plenty here in Gen San. You can also get sashimi-quality tuna everyday.

    May 23, 2009 | 12:38 pm

  6. Maria Clara says:

    The acid of your orange juice marinate cooked your tuna steadk before it hit the cooking vessel. When marinating fish in citrus juice just give them a quick bath of the marinate and then off they hit the hot grill or griddle for flash searing and cooking.

    May 23, 2009 | 12:39 pm

  7. Cecilia says:

    I usually like mine like Fried Neurons & Artisan Chocolatier, most of the time crusted with sesame seeds, but I agree with Maria Clara with the citrus part. The few times I’ve done this, I leave the orange juice out, and just drizzle with the lemon after.

    May 23, 2009 | 1:10 pm

  8. natie says:

    yeah–citrus will kilaw it. but i love kalamansi, lime or lemon on the finished product. esp now that salt is my enemy.

    May 23, 2009 | 1:14 pm

  9. joanie says:

    That looks delish…but I still like eating raw tuna (sushi or sashimi style). Have you ever had grilled blue marlin (a.k.a. sulusugi in Balangiga)? It taste just like grilled tuna (for me) and it taste a lot better when its paired with soy sauce and kalamansi…yum

    May 23, 2009 | 1:34 pm

  10. corrine says:

    joanie, blue marlin is good to grill. I think it’s because it has fats unlike tuna. But best for me is to grill the panga.

    May 23, 2009 | 1:52 pm

  11. Jun b says:

    For me Tuna belly is the best for sashimi as well as the cheeks “Panga”. Tuna steaks when grilled tend to be dry and bland in taste, not my favorite too. Although I did try a grilled belly and cheeks in japan before and I would say better than what I had in Manila. I have no luck on grilled tuna steaks so I quit ordering them.

    May 23, 2009 | 2:35 pm

  12. Angela says:

    Not a tuna steak fan, either. I read your recipe and the first thing that came to mind when I saw orange juice was “ceviche”!

    MM, you mentioned that you eat lots of canned tuna. Have you tried canning tuna yourself? I’ve done it once and it is far superior to commercially canned tunas. If I’m in a pinch, I buy Italian canned tuna. It’s yummy.

    May 23, 2009 | 3:35 pm

  13. Gener says:

    Depends on what type of tuna, BlueFin-i love preparing it with just salt and pepper then fry,,,then prepare a sauce of toyo with lemon,garlic and chilli….YellowFin-Prepare it with blackpepper,chilli powder & salt then fry, prepare a sauce toyo+onion+garlic+lemon or wasabi…try preparing it as sushi too…very healthy food indeed…

    May 23, 2009 | 3:41 pm

  14. Connie C says:

    Try this MM….steam fry your steak starting off with a COLD iron skillet. I usually marinate with a little salt, soy sauce, lemon, grated ginger, some grated garlic if you like, and a tad of sugar…no more than 10-15 minutes. Slather fish steaks with some olive oil and place in cold iron skillet lightly coated with oil. Cover skillet and in moderate to high heat, steam fry roughly 3 minutes on each side. Adjust your heat and turn over fish to lightly brown as needed. Do not overcook. Somehow, fish stays moist. Works with tanguigue steaks as well.

    Also try grilling your fish steaks wrapped in banana leaves…..will avoid drying.

    May 23, 2009 | 6:54 pm

  15. marissewalangkaparis says:

    Marinating in citrus draws out its liquid thus it tastes dry.Drizzle salt and pepper. When grilling,swizzle some lemon and a tad sugar when almost done. The lemon adds tang while the tad sugar hastens browning yet keeps the insides moist.

    Love tuna..but marlin is softer and really moist. Its oiliness keeps it from drying.

    May 23, 2009 | 7:56 pm

  16. Timmy says:

    season with rock salt on both sides. sear. set aside. let stand for few minutes so that the cooking process will continue. this way, you will have a juicy pink beauty that’s cooked through.

    best eaten for breakfast. use a bit of japanese brand dipping soy sauce. eat with steamed rice and roasted nori.

    May 23, 2009 | 8:47 pm

  17. Sanojmd says:

    I’m not a big fan of tuna either.. I thought you’re in vacation? Where in the world are you? LOL

    May 23, 2009 | 9:41 pm

  18. Divine G says:

    Is tuna – tangguigue or tanigue in Tagalog? If it is then yes we had been cooking this at home like most of you have been doing but we don’t really marinate it. We just prepare the soy sauce, kalamansi juice or lemon or lime (whichever is available), pepper, a little sugar, lots of onion. Then heat the pan put a little oil to cook the soy mixture until about some of it has evaporated then add fish and the onions. Cook until a little bit more of the sauce evaporates but before you overcook the fish and the onion then you’re done.

    May 23, 2009 | 10:09 pm

  19. mrs lavendula says:

    in my opinion, tuna is best served raw! hmmm, i feel like we’re heading to a japanese restaurant for our sunday eat out =)

    May 24, 2009 | 12:08 am

  20. Marketman says:

    Divine G, tuna is not tanguigue. Tanguigue is spanish mackerel. The steaks were not “cooked” by the orange juice in a traditional sense, if you look at the tuna in the 3rd and 4th photos, it is still quite blood red, as opposed to a more opaque color you would expect from a ceviche style marination. However, I agree the orange juice would react with the fish… Angela, I haven’t tried canning myself as I am fearful of botulism if canning is done improperly. I do want to try poaching the tuna in olive oil and refrigerating it and consuming within 3 days to avoid bacteria issue. Yes, this type of tuna belly with olive oil and spices would be SUPERB.

    May 24, 2009 | 12:12 am

  21. pia l. says:

    Martha Stewart did say that one should add salt to fish just a few minutes before cooking as the salt tends to draw the water out of the fish, leading to dry fish meat.

    May 24, 2009 | 12:29 am

  22. Tok says:

    MM:nice try. LAMI gid! ako okay na yung budburan ko lang ng asin at paminta then ihawin na…haaaaaay kagutom. Nice post MM.

    May 24, 2009 | 1:05 am

  23. Ariel says:

    MM, have you tried Hawaiian Poke

    May 24, 2009 | 2:49 am

  24. Edwin D. says:

    Friend of mine at work gave me some smoked barracuda. He caught the fish himself. Taste great and will always remember that taste because of its freshness and meat-like texture. Doesn’t taste fishy.

    May 24, 2009 | 3:34 am

  25. Divine G says:

    Thanks MM. Now I know.

    May 24, 2009 | 9:29 pm

  26. paolo says:

    a marinade that i sometimes use is for bbque tuna is lea and perrins , soy sauce ( for the more salty flavor ) , lots of garlic, brown sugar, and italian seasoning. marinate for around 30mins.
    before taking them out of the grill i brush them with a sauce of olive oil, calamansi, garlic, chili, and oyster sauce.

    May 25, 2009 | 10:18 am

  27. wil-b cariaga says:

    it’s really quite hard to get the doneness you want for tuna steaks, thats why for me i just prefer it seared or at least medium, still have a pinkish center because tuna really is awful when its overcooked

    May 25, 2009 | 11:36 am

  28. coriander says:

    I love the pan seared tuna (or is it tangigue?) at Katre in QC, done perfectly.

    May 26, 2009 | 1:37 pm

  29. Tinka says:

    I like to pat my tuna steaks dry, salt and pepper both sides, brush some olive oil on both sides as well, then I set it down on a hot cast iron skillet. 1.5-2 minutes on each side, then i slice it into strips, and I serve it with a little extra olive oil drizzled on top, and a soy sauce and balsamic vinegar reduction. (equal parts soy sauce and balsamic vinegar and a little sugar zapped in the microwave til thick) :D

    More a seared tuna steak than a regular tuna steak I guess, but it still makes for good eating. :D

    May 26, 2009 | 11:33 pm

  30. Adrian Cuenca says:

    Try purchasing the tuna at Farmer’s Market in the early morning. You can find the finest quality there. The slice should be around 1 inch thick and sear it just enough to crust the outside. At one inch you don’t run the risk of overcooking the tuna. Alternatively, you can add some cracked pepper to have a nice pepper crust. I would avoid marinating with salt because it is scientifically proven to take out the juices of food. Salt should be added right before the cooking process.

    With black pepper crusted tuna, you can eat it as a steak with a sauce or cut it into strips and serve it like sashimi or add it to a salad with asian dressing.

    May 27, 2009 | 12:48 pm

  31. Tony Ma says:

    Try to cook the tuna steaks in a wok, or another iron cast device (skillets OK) covered to avoid losing humidity.
    With me it work well.

    Jun 4, 2009 | 9:45 am

  32. hill roberts says:

    Hi, MM,
    Those photographs look very tempting. How I miss eating tuna the way it’s done back in our country. In Spain, tuna is hardly served that way.
    Canned tuna is more common though. It is very common to serve tuna with fresh salad, i.e., lettuce, onions, carrots, peppers,sweet corn, shredded beetroot, asparagus and so on.
    They lay the tuna on top. It’s up to the person to pour generous portions of virgin olive oil and vinegar. The result? Fantastic, added to the fact that this concoction of tuna salad is very very healthy, ideal for people who are conscious of what they eat.
    I know, I know, people there are not so keen on salads. But believe me, once you’ve tried it, you’re hooked. Just make sure all fresh lettuce and vegetables are properly washed and dried. Cheers

    Jun 11, 2009 | 7:15 pm

  33. hill roberts says:

    Hi, MM
    Have you tried eating canned tuna with fresh salad? It is very common to order tuna salad. The fresh salad consists of lettuce, onions, sweet corn, peppers, beetroot rashers, carrots, asparagus or just anything you fancy.
    I know, I know, people there in general are not so keen on fresh salads. However, just wash the fresh vegetables thoroughly and dry them well afterwards. The tuna is laid on top of the salad and one can add a generous portion of virgin olive oil and vinegar. I’ts healthy eating and I’d highly recommend it.
    Those photographs are tempting…something they do not do in Spain. By the way, they only use canned tuna for salads. Do try it sometime. Cheers!

    Jun 11, 2009 | 7:26 pm

  34. marlyn says:

    I marinate the tuna steaks in salt, pepper, crushed garlic, with a sprinkling of dried BASIL and THYME leaves for 30 minutes only. I then pan-grill them in olive oil taking care not to overcook. I do not allow the tuna to get brown in the process(not like it has been fried) but looks much like it has been steamed only. My husband likes it!

    Aug 31, 2009 | 11:41 pm


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