Tuna steaks are the oceans answer to a meaty style fish, substantial enough to satisfy the most discerning porterhouse or rib eye enthusiast; a cut of fish you can really sink you teeth into. There are endless possibilities for a thickly cut fresh tuna steak but this simple preparation for Grilled Tuna with Gremolata can not be beat. A high quality piece of tuna, freshly sliced from a respected fish monger with a combination of garden herbs, lemon peel and garlic make Grilled Tuna with Gremolata an effortless entree.
When planning to prepare fish I always purchase the fish the day I intend to serve it; I realize that this is a luxury that most of us do not have, so if you must pre-purchase, please not more than one day prior to serving. Once you arrive home, place some ice in a plastic bag to be set inside a rectangular glass baking dish, laying the wrapped fish over the ice; position the baking dish in the coldest part of your refrigerator.
Traditional Gremolata is a combination of parsley, garlic and lemon peel often used to dress rich meat dishes such as Osso Buco. There are numerous variations of Gremolata which might include pine nuts, assorted herbs, anchovy, shallots, horseradish and Pecorino Romano. The piquant flavor of Gremolata pairs nicely with the rich flavor of a well prepared tuna steak.
Grilled Tuna with Herb Gremolata is a dish that completely relies on the quality and freshness of the ingredients. Entertaining should be carefree, and this straightforward yet elegant main course will do you proud. Serve Grilled Tuna with Herb Gremolata along with a salad of wild arugula & red onion… and a chilled bottle of your favorite Italian white wine.
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- 1¼ pound tuna steak, about 1 inch thick
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp. of flavorless vegetable oil such as canola oil
- ⅓ cup finely chopped mixed herb leaves including Italian parsley, chives, oregano and thyme
- 3 cloves of peeled garlic, finely minced
- Finely grated zest of one large lemon
- Lengths of lemon peel and herb sprigs for garnish
- About 2 hours prior to grilling, season the tuna steak with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Refrigerate for one hour and then remove the seasoned tuna to the counter.
- Combine the chopped mixed herbs, minced garlic, and grated lemon zest in a small bowl. Season with a bit of salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Add a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and stir to form a paste like consistency; set aside until ready to use. The Gremolata may be covered with plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator for later use.
- Preheat the grill on high until the grates reach the red-hot stage.
- Using the vegetable oil lightly oil the tuna steak on both sides, be sure that this is only a light coating of oil as too much oil will create a flash flame on your grill.
- Once the grill is red-hot, position your steak on the grate and grill for 2 minutes; adjusting the position of the tuna on the grill a quarter turn so as to achieve cross grill marks. Continue to grill for an additional 2 minutes, turn the tuna steak over and repeat the process to cook the other side of the fish. Remove at once as overcooked tuna quickly becomes dry and lacks essential flavor.
- Position the tuna on a cutting board and spoon on some of the Gremolata, spreading it with the back of the spoon. Thickly slice the prepared tuna steak across the grain of the flesh, not less than ½ inch thick. Carefully place the sliced tuna steak onto a serving platter, taking care to maintain the original shape of the tuna now that is has been sliced; I like to use a long spatula while keeping the serving platter in close proximity to the cutting board. Garnish the dish with lemon peel and herb sprigs to present. The tuna is nicely complimented when served along with a wild arugula & red onion salad dressed with a lemon vinaigrette.