You can forget how meaty and moist a half-inch-thick tuna steak can be – right up until you bite into one. It makes a fine summer meal. Here, a 20-minute marinade of garlic, basil, lemon juice and olive oil brings out just enough sweetness in the fish to pair it brilliantly with ribbons of radicchio and Belgian endive and chopped dandelion greens.
The salad prep doesn’t take that long, so I recommend boiling some new potatoes to complete the meal while the tuna bathes in flavor. And while a composed platter looks nice, I like to tear the medium-rare, grill-marked fish into chunks and toss it in a big heap with the greens and pile the mess on everyone’s plates. They’ll be licked clean soon enough.
Basil-Grilled Tuna With Bitter Greens
4 servings, Healthy
The tuna steaks can be done over direct high heat on an outdoor grill as well.
Serve with new potatoes or over couscous.
Adapted from “Bold and Healthy Flavors: 450 Recipes From Around the World,” by Steven Raichlen (Black Dog and Leventhal, 2010).
2 cloves garlic
12 basil leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds fresh tuna (2 or 3 pieces)
1 bunch dandelion greens (about 7 ounces total; may substitute arugula)
1 head radicchio (about 12 ounces total)
2 Belgian endive (about 8 ounces total)
1. Combine the garlic and basil in a mini food processor or chop up/prep for a mortar and pestle. Cut 1 lemon in half and squeeze 3 tablespoons of its juice over them. Add a pinch each of salt and pepper, then 1 1/2 teaspoons of the oil. Grind or pound to a finely chopped consistency.
2. Trim any blood spots or sinew from the tuna, then cut the flesh horizontally into 4 steaks of equal thickness, arranging them in a shallow baking dish as you work.
3. Spread the garlic mixture evenly over each piece of tuna. Marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes, turning the fish over a few times to coat evenly.
4. Meanwhile, cut the dandelion leaves away from the stems. Discard any wilted exterior leaves of radicchio, then cut the head first into quarters and then into thin slices. Cut the Belgian endive crosswise into thin slices, coring it and discarding its outer leaves, as needed. Combine in a mixing bowl, then add the remaining tablespoon of oil and a small pinch each of salt and pepper. Do not toss yet.
5. Preheat a grill pan over high heat. Once it’s quite hot, transfer the tuna steaks to the pan; cook for 1 to 2 minutes on each side (medium-rare), basting with marinade from the baking dish, until grill marks form. Transfer to a platter.
6. Toss the bitter greens to coat with their dressing, then arrange the salad around or atop the tuna steaks.
7. Cut the remaining lemon into wedges or slices and place around the platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Per serving: 290 calories, 45 g protein, 12 g carbohydrates, 7 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 65 mg cholesterol, 180 mg sodium, 5 g dietary fiber, 2 g sugar