Grilled Tuna with Fresh Herbs

19 Jul

Let’s get something out of the way right here at the tippy-top. I know you’re not all fish eaters. Fish is fishy, you don’t like the texture, it’s expensive, it smells up the house. I hear you, and I respect that choice.


This isn’t fishy. The texture is a lot like steak if you cook it all the way through (more on that in a sec.). I found mine on sale for about the same price as chicken boobs. And my house smells like it always does a few hours later; you wouldn’t come in and ask what fish we had for dinner.

Today, we’re talking tuna steaks. I know–$18 per pound at the fish counter. But go on over to your frozen seafood aisle and take a gander. I found these beauties there, vacuum-packed and flash-frozen, for about $5 per pound, and they grilled up beautifully. Tuna is healthy and light and firm and delicious, and does not smell (OK, the canned stuff smells. This is not that. See?).

This recipe is super simple–it’s based on a Mark Bittman classic and took me about five minutes of hands-on time to prepare, plus about 15 minutes on the grill pan. Yep, I cooked this inside on my cast iron pan. You could absolutely toss it onto your outside grill, and ’tis the season.

I used herbs from my garden, so I grabbed handfuls of what I had. If you have a favorite fresh herb, go ahead and play with this–anything goes. Dried herbs will burn, so definitely find some fresh either in somebody’s yard or at the farm market. I served this with wild rice, steamed broccoli, and my tomato-cucumber salad, and I know it was a hit because dinnertime was silent. Just eating. Beautiful.

Give this a try, even if you’re not a fish eater. Your heart and your mouth will thank you. No air freshener needed. You’ll need:

Tuna steaks, one per person (the rest of my ingredients are based on two steaks, because that’s what I cooked)

Two cloves of garlic, minced, or two frozen garlic cubes

About two tablespoons of fresh minced herbs; I used basil, thyme, and oregano

The zest of half a lemon (reserve the naked fruit for later)

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Heat your grill or grill pan to screaming hot over medium-high heat.

Mix together the garlic, herbs, and lemon zest in a small bowl with a fork. Add a squirt of lemon juice to moisten it to a paste-like consistency.

Dry your tuna steaks with paper towels. Lay them on a board or plate. Sprinkle them lightly with salt, and then rub the top side with the herb mixture.

Spray or rub your grill with olive oil, reduce the heat to medium, and lay the steaks on it, herbed side down. On the grill, salt and rub down the other side while the first side cooks. Leave them alone (stop nudging them around!) for about five minutes, or until you can see them start to cook through the middle:

Flip and grill until they’re to your desired level of done-ness. Mine was raw in the middle because I took it off a few minutes in; DH’s was cooked through after about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle lemon juice on cooked tuna, and enjoy.

3 Responses to “Grilled Tuna with Fresh Herbs”

  1. gizziechick July 19, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

    What kind of grill pan do you have?? I used to have one that I just couldn’t get clean…. I love grilled tuna and have been thinking about getting a pan.

  2. Kim July 19, 2011 at 6:43 pm #

    Hi there

    I have a Lodge 12″ square grill pan, and a Calphalon double-burner grill pan. I used the square one for this. Use a sponge or soap-free steel wool pad and salt to clean it. 🙂


  3. Kasim April 26, 2014 at 3:42 am #

    I agree, wedding cake is the BEST! Sometimes I sneak two picees (and only my husband notices. then, he teases me mercilessly for it). :)Megan– UPDATE ON THE GRILLED PIZZA: I chickened out, and baked it! I worried that our grill wouldn’t produce even heat, so the oven seemed like a safe bet. SO, it’s the end of summer and I’ve still never made grilled pizza. But, the oven version was fabulous. Fresh basil and mozzarella. I will definitely have the try the rosemary w/olives next time! Sounds SO good.Happy Labor Day, gals.xxKelly

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