(Not Too) Spicy Grilled Tuna Steaks with Salad Greens

If you don’t like fish, this is the fish recipe for you.  If you do like fish, especially  tuna, this is definitely the recipe for you.  It was published by the great Pierre Franey (1921 – 1996) in the New York Times and Chicago Tribune in August of 1992.  It may well be the greatest tuna recipe ever written.  (Yes, Rob, even better than canned-tuna noodle casserole.)  I have made it many times over the years, something I rarely do.  Hell, I almost never make anything more than once.

Photo: Nancy Young

Spicy Grilled Tuna Steaks

Serves 4

1/4 cup sesame seeds (toasted is better, but not necessary)
1 Tbls curry powder
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp anise seeds
Salt to taste
4 tuna steaks, about 1″ thick, 1-1/2 lbs. total, the fresher the better
olive oil

    1.  Preheat a grill, or oven broiler.  Mix sesame seeds, curry powder, black pepper, anise seeds, and salt in a small bowl.
    2.  Lightly oil tuna with olive oil.  Sprinkle  steaks evenly on both sides with sesame mixture, and press down so mixture adheres well to steaks.  Cover and let stand for 15 to 30 minutes at room temperature.
    3.  Meanwhile, prepare Mixed Salad, below.
    4.  Place steaks on hot grill or under broiler for two minutes per side for rare.  (For greater doneness, you can cook a little longer, particularly if you are grilling outside in the winter, but otherwise I don’t recommend it.  Trust me on this.)

Mixed Salad with Vinaigrette

6 cups mixed salad greens (readily available preboxed, for convenience)
2 Tbls each: Dijon mustard and red wine vinegar
2 tsp minced garlic
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
8 Tbls olive oil

    1. Wash and dry greens thoroughly in a salad spinner.  If large, tear leaves with your hands; if you buy them in a bag or box they will probably be small enough that you can leave them whole.
    2.  Put mustard, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.  Stir well.  Add oil in a steady stream, whisking constantly until well blended.  Adjust vinegar to taste (I like my dressing with a little more zip).
    3. Add greens and toss well with vinaigrette.

To serve, place dressed mixed green salad in center of plate.  Cut tuna into  slices on the bias and place slices on top of greens.

Since the grill is already on, if you’d like more food, this goes really well with mixed vegetable kabobs (zucchini, onion, red bell pepper, mushroom, etc).  Double the vinaigrette, and use half to marinate the veggies.  They will need about five minutes per side to cook, so start them before the tuna.  Alternatively, a side of plain white rice would work, also.

Serve with one of these Pinot Noirs.  Yes, a red, not a white.  Unless it is a sparkler.

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