Grilled Tuna: Cook Once, Eat Twice
Tuna is fabulous cooked medium rare, so that the middle layer is still slightly pink. It’s the closest thing to steak you’ll get without actually eating red meat.
And taking time to marinate the tuna fillets makes all the difference in the world. Not only will the marinade give the fish a boost of flavor but, depending on the ingredients of your marinade and how long you let it sit, it can also act as a terrific tenderizer. (Equal parts olive oil and white wine work well.) The marinade coats the protein strands of the tuna and prevents the fish from drying out when you grill it.
I’m going to make my grilled tuna pull double duty this week, in two salads that are hearty enough to be the centerpiece of the meal: first, Grilled Niçoise Tuna Steaks, and, with my tuna steak leftovers, a salad of Warm Wheat Berries with Tuna, Fennel and Olives. (You can also chop up the tuna leftovers to make old-fashioned tuna salad. As a substitute for canned tuna it can’t be beat.)
Day One (Dinner): Grilled Niçoise Tuna Steaks
Marinating the tuna steaks in olive oil, white wine, and herbs such as thyme and fennel (as pictured above) brings the classic Niçoise to the next level. I serve it as a composed salad, meaning, it’s plated on a bed of lettuce without actually tossing the veggies, so it seems like a more substantial dinner. You can mix and match the vegetables you love (such as olives and green beans) and hold the anchovies if you’re not a fan of their briny taste.
Day Two (Lunch): Warm Wheat Berries with Tuna, Fennel, and Olives
This salad makes for a light and easy lunch that, since I already have my tuna prepared, I can toss together in a flash. I’m a big fan of whole grains like wheat berries—they’re a source of fiber and great texture, wherever you include them. Here they’re combined with fresh fennel, which adds a pleasant licorice-like note to the tuna, along with green olives and baby arugula.