I was at a friendâ€™s house this afternoon to get some stuff sorted with my computer and his lovely wifey called for updates on the dinner shopping list. Apparently he was looking forward to making some Cajun blackened tuna and risotto but there was no risotto available. I have never heard of blackened tuna, so my clueless self asked him to elaborate on that.Â Blackened tuna is your basic raw tuna seasoned with Cajun spices and seared to give you a flavourful crust outside and soft tuna meat inside. And however much he deliciously described it, I have never been keen on anything rare. Then again, itâ€™s not to say that I wouldnâ€™t try it.Â I got sold on the Cajun crust.
I donâ€™t know what makes me get a bit queasy about eating anything that stares back at me. Itâ€™s probably the texture or just the thought of it being half dead.Â A lot of people like their steaks medium well or medium rare. I just like mine cooked!Â Haha … and then of course youâ€™ve got Tataki, Tartare and Sashimi.
These dishes require the meat to be served rare in a crust, marinade or sauce. Â For rare tuna lovers, the issue of food safety has been a long debate since it comes from the deep blue yonder where travel time is crucial to maintain its freshness and commercial value. Hence, big hotels and restaurant hire tuna mongers to hand pick purchases from the market with a keen eye for a fresh quality catch.
They often base their picks on a cherry-red flesh. Tuna meat easily turns brown the longer it is exposed and transported. And given the fact that it takes time to get from sea to market, big commercial fishing boats are equipped with freeze blasters to ensure their catch make it to the fish markets. But sometimes, that still isn’t enough.Â Carbon monoxide has been a known treatment for tuna to prevent its flesh from discolouring. The Food and Drug Association says the carbon monoxide treatment is harmless, but Japan, Canada and Europe banned this practice to discourage dealers from using it to mask spoiled fish. The carbon monoxide merely preserves the color of the tuna flesh and keeps it bright red.Â But after a couple of days it will fade into a watermelon pink.
Just always remember to consume fish at the earliest possible time. Ideally, its shelf life should only be 2 days if you plan to make any seared tuna. The recipe below is one you might want to try if youâ€™re up for a little Cajun flavour.
CAJUN BLACKENED TUNA
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 fresh 1-inch thick tuna steaks (6 ounces each)
1â€‘1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme or oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 lemon wedges
Prepare grill or heat a ridged grill pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Brush butter over both sides of tuna. Combine remaining ingredients; mix well and sprinkle over both sides of tuna.
Place tuna on grid over medium-hot coals or in preheated grill pan. Grill 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium-rare tuna (do not overcook or tuna will become dry and tough). Serve with lemon wedges.
Photo Credit: joyaoki
Photo Credit: toastforbrekkies
Photo Credit: mishmosh