Spice-Rubbed Seared Tuna Steaks With Balsamic Reduction

Spice-Rubbed Seared Tuna Steaks

 The Spruce

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
462 Calories
9g Fat
48g Carbs
53g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 462
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 12%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 80mg 27%
Sodium 576mg 25%
Total Carbohydrate 48g 18%
Dietary Fiber 9g 33%
Total Sugars 25g
Protein 53g
Vitamin C 177mg 887%
Calcium 99mg 8%
Iron 4mg 21%
Potassium 1593mg 34%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

When seared on the outside and left rare in the middle, ahi tuna has a delicious meaty flavor and rich, buttery texture that will make even the most hardcore steak lover smile. This recipe takes just a few minutes to cook and is a wonderful dish to serve guests who might be apprehensive about fish since it has very little fishy flavor if prepared correctly.

Ahi is the Hawaiian name for yellowfin and bigeye tunas. Both of these types of tuna have flesh that ranges in color from pink—usually found in smaller fish—to a deep red found in larger fish that live deeper in the ocean.

When choosing your tuna steaks, you may have the option to buy ahi tuna that is "sashimi" or "sushi" grade. This simply means that the fish has been frozen to kill any parasites before it is consumed or prepared. There are no official standards for labeling fish sushi or sashimi-grade; they're really just marketing terms. 

Serve your tuna steaks with a salad, baked sweet potatoes, or green beans.

1:30

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Ingredients

For the Balsamic Reduction:

  • 6 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar

  • 1 medium lemon, juiced

  • 1 clove garlic, halved

For the Tuna:

  • 4 (6-ounce) center-cut ahi tuna fillets, 1 1/2 pounds

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 4 lemon wedges, garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for making spice-rubbed seared tuna steaks
    The Spruce ​
  2. Make the balsamic reduction: Place the balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and garlic in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.

    balsamic reduction ingredients in a skillet
     The Spruce
  3. Simmer until the mixture reduces by half. Turn off the heat and reserve until needed. This sauce does not have to be hot for serving. The reduction will thicken slightly as it cools.

    Reduced balsamic reduction in a skillet
    The Spruce
  4. If your tuna fillet is not already sliced into servings, slice into 4 rectangular steaks of equal size. In a small bowl, combine the salt, coriander, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Lay the tuna steaks out on a plate and sprinkle the spice mixture evenly on all sides.

    Slice the tuna fillet and sprinkle with seasonings
    The Spruce
  5. Evenly coat the tuna steaks with the freshly ground black pepper and gently press it in so that it adheres to the surface, being careful not to smash the flesh.

    Evenly coat the tuna steaks with the freshly ground black pepper
     The Spruce
  6. Place a thick-bottomed frying pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the pan. When you see small wisps of smoke, add the tuna to the pan and sear the steaks for about 1 minute per side or until the desired doneness is reached.

    Searing the tuna steaks
     The Spruce
  7. Remove the tuna steaks and place them on a cutting board. For presentation, cut each steak diagonally into 4 to 5 slices and fan on a plate. Serve with a small amount of sauce drizzled alongside. Garnish with a lemon slice and enjoy.

    Spice-rubbed seared tuna steaks on a cutting board
     The Spruce

How Do You Know When Ahi Tuna Is Done?

In terms of flavor and texture, it's better to undercook ahi tuna than to overcook it. As long as you are buying fresh, good-quality fish, it will be safe to eat. Seared ahi tuna is best cooked rare to achieve a signature meaty flavor and buttery texture. When it's overcooked and becomes too dry, that's when it becomes fishy tasting.

Is Tuna Steak the Same as Ahi Tuna?

"Ahi" is a Hawaiian word for a type of tuna that includes yellowtail and bigeye tuna fish. Tuna steak refers to a specific cut of tuna fish that closely resembles the size and thickness of a cut of beef steak. Often, tuna steaks are also ahi tuna.

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