No need to drop your own line—though it is a blast—and enjoy one of the sea’s true bounties, tuna. This open-water, fast charging finfish is a protein bonanza—for every 100 grams of tuna, there is anywhere between 23 and 27 grams of protein; and is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids.
However, due to its delicious nature tuna fisheries are dangerously low worldwide, with the Bluefin tuna teetering dangerously close to complete collapse. Seafood Watch, Monterey Bay Aquarium’s watchdog group dedicated to helping “consumers and businesses choose seafood that’s fished or farmed in ways that protect sea life and habitats, now and for future generations,” recommends ordering albacore tuna instead, which is similar in taste and texture. While the fishery is in better shape, Seafood Watch recommends purchasing albacore that has been troll-caught in the Pacific from U.S. and Canadian fishermen. For more sustainable fish recommendations, download Seafood Watch’s app, free for both Android and iOS.
With that said, tuna is still a delicious fish when sustainably sourced. Here we offer a few recipes for that fresh catch.
For a salad that borders on feast, this classic French recipe is a great addition to the spring dining lineup.
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 1/2 pound French string beans, blanched
- 1/2 pound new potatoes, boiled
- 3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
- 10 anchovies, packed in oil (optional)
- 1 pound fresh tuna, grilled
- 1/2 cup Niçoise olives, pitted
- 3 medium tomatoes, quartered
Rub a tablespoon of olive oil on the tuna and grill it until opaque. Remove from heat. When cool to the touch, drizzle with vinaigrette until coated. Set aside at room temperature.
Toss blanched French beans in 2/3 of the vinaigrette until coated and place in the center of a large serving platter. Top with anchovies, quartered eggs, and tomatoes. Drizzle with 1 to 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette. On a second platter, arrange the potatoes. Break apart tuna and place atop the potatoes with olives. Drizzle remaining vinaigrette and garnish with parsley.
- 1 1/2 tbsp. cider vinegar
- 1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 medium white onion, sliced thinly
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cup parsley leaves, minced
- 1/2 cup equal mix of tarragon and chervil leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl, whisk mustard and vinegar together. Slowly whisk in oil, followed by onion, garlic, and herbs. Season with salt and pepper; reserve a third for the final drizzle.
Looking to make that healthy bite even healthier? Ditch the tuna and mix up some “Mock Tuna Salad” with this recipe courtesy of Whole Foods Market.
Mock Tuna Salad (makes 3 1/2 cups)
- 1 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 cup raw almonds
- 1/3 cup finely chopped celery
- 1/3 cup finely chopped pickles
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh dill
- 2 tbsp. maple syrup or agave nectar
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. kelp granules
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
Put sunflower seeds and almonds into a large bowl, cover by 2 inches with water, cover and set aside at room temperature to let soak for 10 to 12 hours; drain well.
Pulse sunflower seeds and almonds in a food processor until very finely chopped, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in celery, pickles, onions, dill, maple syrup, lemon juice, kelp, pepper and salt. Serve immediately, or cover and chill until ready to serve.
For a tuna recipe that spans the globe, Tommy Bahama serves up one of the best. Its Ahi Tuna Tacos infuse Asian flavors, from the wonton shells to the wasabi lime avocado sauce, for one of our favorite tuna tacos of all time. The recipe is lengthy, but worth the effort. If all else fails, head to Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar on Third Street South and order up a plate for the table.
Ahi Tuna Tacos (serves 8)
- 8 wonton tacos, 3.5″ x 3.5″ squares
- 2 oz. Asian Slaw (see recipe below)
- 2 tsp. Lime Vinaigrette (see recipe below)
- 4 oz. ahi tuna, fresh, diced 1/4″ cubes
- 2 tbsp. Ahi Tuna Taco Dressing (see recipe below)
- 4 tsp. Wasabi Lime Avocado Sauce (see recipe below)
- 1 tsp. sesame seeds, black and white, toasted
- 2 tsp. red bell pepper, brunoise (very finely diced)
- 2 tsp. scallions, very thin cut
Also required (for making your own wonton taco shells):
- Deep fryer, turkey fryer or large stock pot
- Canola oil
- Stainless steel taco molder (may be purchased at a local restaurant supply store or online at Pronto Products)
- 4 oz. green cabbage, shredded thin, 1/4″
- 2 oz. red onions, sliced into half moons, 1/8″
- 2 oz. jicama, peeled, julienne 2″ long
- 1 oz. cilantro, fresh, washed and rough chopped
Add all ingredients together and mix well.
House Salt & Pepper
- 3 tbsp. kosher salt
- 1 tbsp. coarse grind black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. white pepper
Add all ingredients together and mix well.
- 4 tbsp. oil blend (75% extra virgin olive oil, 25% canola oil)
- 2 tsp. fresh lime juice
- 2 tsp. House Salt & Pepper
Add the House Salt & Pepper and lime juice to a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil blend. Reserve.
Ahi Tuna Taco Dressing
- 1 1/2 fl. oz. sesame oil
- 1 1/2 fl. oz. soy sauce
- 1 1/4 tsp. ginger, fresh, peeled and minced
- 1 1/4 tsp. chipotle paste
- 1/2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 1/2 tbsp. shallots, minced
Add all ingredients into mixing bowl and whisk together. Make sure to mix dressing together first before adding to tuna, as dressing will otherwise separate.
Wasabi Lime Avocado Sauce
- 4 oz. sour cream
- 2 1/2 oz. avocados, diced
- 1/2 tbsp. lime juice
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- pinch cayenne pepper
- pinch white pepper
- 1 tsp. wasabi paste
- 1/4 tsp. granulated sugar
In blender or food processor, add avocados and sour cream. Blend until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend until incorporated.
To make wonton taco shells – Preheat canola oil in a deep fryer, turkey fryer or a large stock pot to 335° F. Place the shells into a stainless steel taco molder. Submerge the taco molder with wonton shells into oil for 50 seconds or until light golden brown. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
Toss the Asian Slaw with the Lime Vinaigrette in small bowl. Evenly distribute the slaw within the 4 taco shells.
Toss the diced tuna with the Ahi Tuna Taco Dressing in small bowl until incorporated. Spoon evenly on top of the slaw in each taco.
Drizzle the Wasabi Lime Avocado Sauce on the tuna on each taco and sprinkle with the sesame seeds, red bell pepper and scallions.
It is important to point out that as one of the ocean’s apex predators, tuna has elevated levels of mercury. The result of industrial pollution that makes its way into rivers and oceans where it is incorporated into the food web starting with microorganism, the heavy metal accumulates in tuna, a voracious predator and long-living fish. Mercury can lead to brain and kidney damage—especially in children, and can be devastating to developing fetuses. Because of this, the Food and Drug Administration recommends limiting tuna consumption, especially albacore, to once every 10 days for people 130 pounds and up, with even more drastic lengths for children. For a helpful guide, the Natural Resources Defense Council offers a weight/time chart to safeguard against mercury.