Every once in a while, I try and sweep through the freezers and refrigerators and cook up any odds, ends, or pieces of meat or fish which have been otherwise “forgotten.” In this case, a pretty nice hunk of tuna emerged from the deep freeze, and I realized it was an aborted piece that didn’t pass my sashimi quality test, but would probably do well in any cooked recipe. So I decided to defrost it and slice it into roughly 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick pieces (slice when still semi-frozen, it’s easier) and attempt to make a dish like Bistek Tagalog, but only this time, using fish instead of meat.
In a large skillet, add some vegetable oil and turn the heat up to medium high. I added two medium sized spanish or white onions, sliced into 1/4 inch half rings, and tossed that to keep it moving. After about 2-3 minutes, I added about 1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce and the same amount of kalamansi or calamondin juice. Toss some more and set this aside, leaving any excess oil in the pan. Add a little more vegetable oil to the pan, season the tuna slices with salt and pepper, and quickly pan fry the slices, perhaps adding a splash of soy sauce to each slice before flipping it over. It’s nice to keep the tuna a bit undercooked to retain some moisture, but you can cook it to a crisp if you prefer it that way. Place the cooked slices onto a warmed serving platter.
Sprinkle about 1/2 tablespoon of flour into the oil and drippings in the pan and stir for just 10-15 seconds before adding say a cup or so total of soy sauce, kalamansi juice and water. Omit flour if you don’t like the sauce to thicken up a bit. I used roughly 25% soy sauce, 25% kalamansi juice and 50% water. Adjust this to taste or to volumes of sauce you want. Add some pepper and stir to thicken. Add back the sauteed onions and when this is all hot, pour this over the fish and serve with lots of rice and a vegetable side dish. Super easy, and surprisingly good. The fish can get a little tough but if sliced relatively thinly, it isn’t such a big negative. A nice variation on the classic bistek tagalog. But a little bit healthier. :)