Charcoal-Grilled Tuna Steaks with Red Wine Vinegar and Mustard Vinaigrette
Published May 1, 2010. From Cook's Illustrated.
Why this recipe works:
For a tuna steak recipe that turned out fish with an intense smoky char and a tender interior, we started by covering the grates with aluminum foil to superheat them. We moistened the tuna’s flesh with a vinaigrette to promote browning and allow the oil to penetrate the meat of the tuna… read more
For a tuna steak recipe that turned out fish with an intense smoky char and a tender interior, we started by covering the grates with aluminum foil to superheat them. We moistened the tuna’s flesh with a vinaigrette to promote browning and allow the oil to penetrate the meat of the tuna steaks. And instead of using sugar in our vinaigrette, we used honey. Both promote browning, but honey does it faster.less
We prefer our tuna served rare or medium- rare. If you like your fish cooked medium, observe the timing for medium-rare, then tent the steaks loosely with foil for 5 minutes before serving. To achieve a nicely grilled exterior and a rare center, it is important to use fish steaks that are at least 1 inch thick.
1. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal (6 quarts, about 100 briquettes) and allow to burn until coals are fully ignited and partially covered with thin layer of ash, about 20 minutes. Build modified two-level fire by arranging all coals in even layer over half of grill, leaving other half empty. Loosely cover cooking grate with large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil; position grate over coals, cover grill, and heat grate until hot, about 5 minutes. Remove foil with tongs and discard; scrape grate clean with grill brush. Lightly dip wad of paper towels in oil; holding wad with tongs, wipe grate. Continue to wipe grate with oiled paper towels, redipping towels in oil between applications, until grate is black and glossy, 5 to 10 times. Grill is ready when coals are hot (you can hold your hand 5 inches above grate for 3 to 4 seconds).
2. While grill heats, whisk vinegar, ½ teaspoon salt, mustard, honey, and thyme or rosemary together in large bowl. While whisking constantly, slowly drizzle oil into vinegar mixture until lightly thickened and emulsified. Measure out ¾ cup vinaigrette and set aside for cooking fish. Reserve remaining vinaigrette for serving.
3. Brush both sides of fish liberally with vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper to taste. Grill fish without moving until grill marks form and bottom surface is opaque, about 1½ minutes. Carefully flip, cooking until grill marks form on second side, about 1½ minutes longer for rare (opaque at perimeter and translucent red at center when checked with tip of paring knife) or 3 minutes for medium-rare (opaque at perimeter and reddish pink at center). Transfer to large plate and serve immediately, passing reserved vinaigrette.
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Vinaigrette for Foolproof Grilled Tuna
A simple dressing of oil, vinegar, mustard, and honey not only adds flavor but is the secret to grilled tuna with a hot smoky crust and rosy interior (plus less fishy odor!). Each component brings its own particular benefit to the mix.