I keep tuna and salmon in the only-good-in-sushi category. I’m not a huge fan of the cooked fish, finding it a bit oily and strong-flavored for my sensitivities. Raw, they are fine; cooked, it gets all wrong.
I’m not sure what the solution is to cooked (not cured or smoked) salmon, but for tuna, I’ve found a way around the fishy weirdness with a good marinade and all-wood charcoal.
Based on an Epicurious recipe, this proved to be a wonderful summer evening meal, served with a baked tomato-basil-mozzarella bread salad and tamarind margaritas… First things first.
My dining companion manned the grill, starting with all-wood charcoal and one of those chimney things that you use to get the coals hot. It takes longer, but I could absolutely taste the difference – plus, who wants their food to taste like lighter fluid?
While the coals are heating, work on the tuna…
Grilled tuna with ginger-chile marinade
- 3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
- 1 T grated or minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil (canola oil works fine)
- 2 tablespoons Asian dark sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 serrano chile, seeded, minced
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds 1 1/4 -inch-thick ahi tuna, cut into 1- to 1 1/4 -inch cubes (I got one package of tuna from Costco – best deal!)
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- Additional chopped fresh cilantro
Whisk first 8 ingredients in medium bowl to blend; season to taste with pepper. Transfer 3 tablespoons marinade to small bowl and reserve. Add tuna to remaining marinade in medium bowl and toss to coat. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 45 minutes.
Spray grill rack with nonstick spray. Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Grill to desired doneness, turning frequently, about 4 minutes total for medium-rare. Transfer to platter. Drizzle reserved marinade over; sprinkle with chopped cilantro.