Monday, September 30, 2013

Cooking Up Some Tuna Filets in SoCal!

Last week, while reading through posts on Facebook, I came across a post from Joe Sarmiento, author of the well-known SoCal Salty Blog. If you don't know Joe, he's an avid saltwater fisherman and has a solid following around SoCal. His post read:
I know this sounds crazy, but I'm getting burnt out on eating tuna and yellowtail. Gonna switch things up today and eat rockfish.
This garnered my attention immediately, so I half-jokingly mentioned we should trade some tuna for some elk. Within a few minutes, we had set up a time the next day to meet up and make an exchange. Score!

Joe and I had chatted online through email or FB for a while about saltwater fishing, but had never met. The next day we met up, made a great trade, and shared a few recipes off the top of our heads. To be honest, I had never made my own tuna steaks or yellowtail before and I couldn't wait to try some recipes out. I have had plenty of tuna steak in my day and it's one of my favorite foods, but yellowtail was new to me. Even still, I was ready to try my hand at cooking and eating some fresh fish!

The filets were already thawed out, so I had to figure out what I wanted to do with them rather quickly. I split the grilling up into two days. Day one would be tuna steaks and day two would be yellowtail burgers. Joe messaged me with his ideas for his elk meat. First off, some elk chili and then some grilled steaks. Yeah buddy!

Joe has some great recipes on his blog and I just used a variation of his. What I want to share with you is how I prepared it in case you want to do the same or a variation of the same. 
With most fish it is recommended you use lemon juice. My dilemma was that I have a lime tree. So, instead of worrying about it I opted to use limes for a little more tang.  I apologize for the photos. I was in a hurry to snap pics with my phone and get to eating!

Tuna Steak Recipe


6 tuna filets (any size will work)

2 large limes (cut in half)

3-4 scallions

1 jalapeno

Sea Salt

Crushed black pepper

Camp Dog Cajun Seasoning

Prep Time: 5-8 minutes

Every grill is different, so preheat your grill to where it will sear the meat as soon as it hits the grate. I hope you aren't one of those people that has to clean your grill each and every time. Leave it seasoned! If you leave it seasoned you won't have the tuna filet stick to the grate.

Take a large bowl (one that will fit at least two filets at a time and squeeze the limes to get all of the juice out. If you are having trouble, use a fork on the inside and twist. Add in a tablespoon of sea salt. Don't add any more than that right now. Dissolve the salt in the lime juice.

Appetizer: Take the largest filet and slice off 6-10 half inch cuts (or more depending on how many you have over). Lay them in the lime juice and by the time you get to the other end you can flip them from start to finish. Take them out and lay them on a small plate. Don't add any more seasoning to these.

Add in two of the filets for about 30 seconds per side. You really don't need more than that. Flip, repeat, and then take them out and place them on a plate. When you have all six filets on a plate, sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper over the top of half of them, flip, and repeat. For the other three filets, cover them with Camp Dog Cajun Seasoning, flip, and repeat.

Tuna filets ready for the grill.

Grill Time!

For the Appetizer: Use the top rack of the grill and lay down each slice of tuna. Close the grill for 30 seconds, open and flip them over. Close the grill again and 30 seconds later you have tasty tuna apps. I ate mine right off the grill and they were so good!

Tuna appetizers make the grilling experience that much better!

Lay the filets on the grill, with the heat still med-high. Let them sear on one side for 20 seconds and then turn the heat down. My filets were super thick, so I left them on one side for six minutes. Flip them and leave them for another 5-6 minutes. If they are thinner steaks, reduce the grill time. Over cooking will certainly dry them out!

While the tuna is being grilled to perfection, chop up the scallions and jalapeno. Mix them together as these will garnish the top of the steak. You can have soy sauce and such, too, but I don't use it much. And I don't believe in useless garnishes. If you are going to put it on my plate I had better be able to eat it. Plus, it should taste good!

Tasty eats that will fill you up!

I like my tuna med-rare and that is precisely how these came out, except for the one I sliced down a bit (see photo). That came out medium-well, but still very tasty. Garnish with the scallions and jalapeno, serve with some salad or maybe some fruit and dig in!

Tomorrow I'll share a yellowtail burger recipe. My own take on it!

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