How To Cook Tuna Steak in a Pan

par HexClad Cookware

How To Cook Tuna Steak in a Pan by HexClad Cookware

Perfectly searing a tuna steak is sure to impress guests, but it’s actually a fairly easy dish to get right. Here’s how to make a tuna steak that will make beef steaks jealous.

What Is a Tuna Steak?

Tuna steak is a loin cut of ahi tuna, which is also sometimes called yellowfin tuna or bigeye tuna. You can find it at plenty of grocery stores or even seek it out at a fish market. Tuna steak is often consumed at least partially rare, so you will want to make sure that your cut is sushi-grade or sashimi-grade. This means that it is safe to consume raw.

The most popular way to consume tuna steak is medium rare, with an internal temperature of between 130 and 135 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also choose to cook it fully to 145 degrees, but know that it will be a very different eating experience if you do.

How Do You Cook Tuna Steak?

There are as many ways to cook tuna steak as there are people to eat it. You can choose to marinade the filet, as is the norm for many seafood recipes. Marinating it overnight will help you get the maximum amount of flavor imbued into the fish. Asian marinades go especially well with ahi tuna, so feel free to incorporate some soy sauce and other ingredients.

For our recipe, we’ll be focussing on how to make an ahi tuna with a delicious sesame seed crust. The first time you cook tuna steak might seem a bit daunting, but we assure you it’s doable. In fact, the total time that it takes to make the dish is so minimal that it will probably be done before you know it.

Brush Your Steak With Egg Whites

First off, pat your tuna steaks down with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. Once that’s done, gently brush the fish with egg whites, being sure to coat all sides. The eggs are what will allow the sesame seeds to stick to the fish, so make sure to be thorough.

Crust It With Sesame Seeds

Create a mixture of white and black sesame seeds, fresh ginger, and lemon juice. Make enough to evenly and fully coat all of your tuna steaks. Put your tuna into the crust, coating it completely on all ends.

Add Oil to Your Pan and Let It Preheat

The process of deciding which kind of oil you want to use to cook your pan-seared tuna steak can be a bit more complicated than people realize at first. You need to pick a fat with a fairly high smoke point since fresh tuna should be cooked at medium-high heat. There is a misconception that extra virgin olive oil is a bad choice for these types of jobs, but that isn’t necessarily the case.

That said, you can also choose fats like canola oil, vegetable oil, sesame oil (if you really want to double down on the sesame flavor), or avocado oil. Add a few tablespoons of oil to the pan, and then allow it to heat on medium-high. Once the oil is shimmering and almost smoking, it’s time to add your fresh tuna steaks to the mix.

Add Your Tuna Steak

When you are adding the tuna fish, there are a couple of key points you have to keep in mind.

First, take care not to overcrowd the pan. Overcrowding is the enemy of every home cook and professional chef alike. We understand that you want to cook your food faster so that you can eat and enjoy it that much quicker. However, the final product suffers significantly when you commit this particular faux pas.

Overcrowding the pan means that not all of your ingredients will get to touch the hot pan for the same amount of time. This promotes uneven cooking, so some pieces could be overdone while others still need more time to heat.

If that weren’t enough, overcrowding also prevents the beautiful browning and caramelization process from taking place by trapping liquid at the bottom of the pan. This is also true when you’re cooking a side dish to complement the grilled tuna steaks.

Our next tip is more a matter of safety than it is about how your food comes out. When you are laying the soon-to-be seared ahi tuna steaks in the hot pan, make sure to do lay it down away from you. If you place the tuna down from the outside toward you, the oil might end up splashing on your hands and arms. This is painful and can even be dangerous. Instead, by pointing the tuna away from you, you ensure that you don’t end up getting cooked at the same time as the tuna.

Sear for Two Minutes on Each Side

The cook time required for your tuna steaks can vary somewhat depending on several factors. First and foremost, consider the thickness of the tuna steak. Thicker cuts will require more time on the stovetop before they are at an appropriate temperature to serve and eat. On the other hand, thinner cuts might need less than two minutes on each side before they’re ready.

You should also consider the temperature you want your tuna to be when it’s done. Medium-well will take longer than medium-rare, and so on. If your tuna is of average thickness, searing it for two minutes on each side should give you a thorough cook that still maintains some beautiful pinkness in the middle.

Next, think about your stove and its ability to heat evenly and quickly. Less powerful stoves might need some more time, or you might need to move the pan around to ensure adequate heat distribution. A perfect sear is completely dependent on an evenly heated cooking surface.

While you might not be able to control how good your stove is at conducting heat, you can choose a pan that will give you the best possible heat retention. HexClad Hybrid Pans are ideal for perfecting any tuna steak recipe and other fish recipes because they heat evenly each and every time.

Garnish and Serve

Complete your tuna with any side dishes or garnishes you’d like, and feel free to season it with kosher salt and black pepper. Some fresh parsley or dill is perfect for adding a pop of color to your plate.

What Is the Best Pan To Sear a Tuna Steak?

Some people suggest using a cast iron pan to sear a tuna steak, but this comes with its own set of challenges. Cast iron is incredibly heavy and hard to maneuver, takes a long time to heat fully, and the handle can get scaldingly hot without you realizing it.

The reason people like it, though, is its ability to retain heat once it’s eventually distributed. HexClad’s Hybrid Pans manage to distribute heat so well by combining the powers of cast iron cookware and stainless steel. Then there are also the steel hexagons at the bottom of each pan that provide more consistency as well as a beautifully unique appearance.

It also does all this while being lightweight and having a handle that’s guaranteed to stay cool.

The Perfect Tuna Steak With HexClad

Like many home cooks, you might be considering what these pans are like to deal with after the actual cooking is done. When it comes to classic stainless steel and cast iron skillets, all too often, the cleaning process is a huge hassle.

For one, there might be remnants of food still stuck to the cooking surface that you now have to scrape at. Afterward, you will have to keep cleaning it by hand until it is yet again pristine, waiting for the next time it’s used.

This routine is a drag that many of us know all too well. HexClad breaks the cycle by having a non-toxic, non-stick coating. That means that your pans will be cleaner immediately after cooking, but there’s still the issue of sanitizing them before you can use them next. Unlike many other pots and pans, HexClad cookware is dishwasher safe, so you’ll be done cleaning in no time. If you’re on the search for the perfect pan, HexClad has the answer.


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