Before I left on tour, I went on a cooking spree. I knew I wasn’t going to be in a proper kitchen again for ages, so in my last days, I made every single meal from scratch. And one night, I found some happy pink tuna steaks on sale at Gelson’s — good ahi is never that cheap — so I snapped them up and turned them into an unbelievably easy and simple weeknight meal that my favorite British dining companion said was one of the best things I’ve ever made. (High praise after Heather and I have posted almost 200 recipes on the blog!)
So with that, I introduce you to the simplest of all steaks: seared ahi tuna. But instead of enjoying the steak with Asian flavors like sesame, ginger, or soy, we slathered the steaks with a French-style rosemary butter. And this butter (which can be made ahead) rounds out the flavors of this just-barely cooked fish beautifully, especially if you salt it generously. I sure slathered it on every bite.
I served these steaks on a bed of kale with this spring salad.
Ahi Tuna Steaks with Lemon-Rosemary Butter
Ahi tuna steaks:
- 2 large fresh tuna steaks (1” thick) brought to room temperature
- olive oil
- fresh-ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons minced rosemary
- 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
- 1 heaping teaspoon fresh lemon zest
Bring butter to room temperature or warm it until it’s very soft, but not liquid. In a mortar and pestle, crush rosemary, mustard, and pepper. Add to butter with lemon, mix thoroughly, and add salt to taste. Set aside in a cool place. (Can be made ahead and chilled in the refrigerator up to 2 days. If you do this, mold it into a ramekin to serve, or form it into a log shape and cut into rounds.)
Heat a heavy flame-proof pan until very hot. In the meantime, rinse steaks and pat them very dry. Spray each side of the steak with olive oil, then apply a generous amount of salt and fresh-ground pepper to both sides. I like to go heavy on the pepper here. Lightly spray the pan with olive oil (I have a hand-pump sprayer that I love for exactly this) and sear steaks until the outside has a nice crust and the center is still pink, about 2-3 min. per side, plus 1-2 minutes on each edge.