The true test of intelligence, it’s been said, is how much another person agrees with you.
If that’s true, than Andreas Viestad is a very intelligent man. How so? I have never subscribed to the idea that the only way to cook tuna is to sear the outside and go no further. There is nothing wrong with cooking it all the way through.
Thus, when I read the following in his really great book, Where Flavor Was Born, I knew he was one smart guy: The fish should most certainly not be almost raw, as has become the fashion with tuna……It’s best to grill the fish over charcoal.
At any rate, I have made this as he suggests, with tuna steaks. And I’ve also cubed the tuna, and made kebabs out of it. It’s good either way. Just be sure and adjust the timing if you choose to do kebabs.
Viestad says this recipe serves two. Frankly, an eight ounce portion of tuna is a pretty big serving. With appropriate sides, it can easily satisfy four.
As noted, cook the tuna all the way through. But don’t overcook it or it will be dry and cardboard.
Grilled Tuna With Zanzibar Spice
2 8-ounce tuna steaks
2 tsp coriander seeds
2-3 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp powdered turmeric
1-3 tsp chili powder (optional) I use a tablespoon of Ancho
Oil from brushing the tuna
Lime wedges for serving
Rinse the tuna steaks and pat dry. Let stand at room temperature at least 15 minutes before cooking. Prepare a grill for direct cooking.
Dry roast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cloves, and peppercorns in a small skillet over high heat for one minute to release the flavors, stirring energetically with a wooden spatula to prevent burning. Crush the toasted spices to a powder, using a mortar and pestle. Add the rest of the spices and salt to taste and mix well.
Brush the tuna steaks with oil, then rub with two-thirds of the spice mixture.
Place the tuna on the grill and cook over high heat for two minutes on each side. Remove from the grill and let rest two minutes. Then place the tuna on a cooler part of the grill, away from direct heat, and grill for two to three minutes longer on each side. Dust the tuna steaks with the rest of the spice mixture and serve with lime wedges on the side.