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Danny’s best juicy Tuna steak recipe

Photo: Tuna steak

Photo: Tuna steak

Danny is addicted to the “condemned food counter” at our local Tesco. This is our name for the reduced price section. A fun avatar for the place that has become a regular routine in our lives and something that adds zest to our cooking regime.

We have to adapt at a moment’s notice to whatever bounty D drags home. Some goes into the freezer and some into the fridge to be relished within a day but most is cooked immediately. This is one way that we have slashed our food bills and are eating far better than we have done before.

These cut price supermarket bargains are a real boon. Danny finds the most amazing triumphs (like the half side of salmon bought for a pittance yesterday). Gravlax or Gravadlax? Please help. The salmon is curing as fingers fly across the keyboard.

Sometimes D returns empty handed. The wolves have already visited and the shelves are bare. Luckily, D is in town to meet the last post collection at 18:30 every evening and a detour to Tesco is a part of his daily routine.

Last week D returned home with two fat fresh tuna steaks. I was surprised as he once overdosed on tinned tuna and even now he cannot face it.
“Dog food,” he growls if I proffer a tin.

But he loves fresh tuna steaks. This recipe was exquisite. D reckons that there are three secrets to producing a top class tuna steak dish.

  1. Try to get steaks of similar thickness so that they require the same cooking time.
  2. Marinade to make them juicy.
  3. Do not overcook them or they become dry and stringy

We’ve had two tuna steak meals in the past 10  days. D cooked both times. The first worked like a dream as both steaks were the same thickness. Yesterdays steaks were like Layrel and Hardy – one very chunky and one svelte. Difficult to cook evenly.

“Marinades are great because you can use any zesty flavouring that you have in your store cupboard. You do need oil, acid (lemon juice) and a few simple but magical ingredients to add flavour. There are loads of recipe ideas on the Internet, so it’s well worth browsing. You are almost guaranteed to develop a good marinade.” He explained.

This is our favourite recipe to date and D’s inspiration is this tuna recipe. Danny’s tweaks are below.

Best juicy Tuna steak recipe (for two)


  • 2 x half pound fresh tuna steaks (approx 400 to 500 grams in total) similar thickness

For the marinade:

  • Juice and zest of half a lemon
  • 1 clove of garlic crushed/mashed/sliced very thinly
  • 20g of root ginger crushed/mashed/sliced very thinly
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp teriyaki sauce (or soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  •  tbsp of fresh coriander leaves (cilantro) or substitute dried coriander or crushed coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp of dried dill or crushed fennel seeds

Danny’s favourite method for soaking things in a marinade is to use a freezer bag but you can also use a plastic/Tupperware container small enough to ensure that the steaks and marinade are tightly packed together.

  1. Marinade the tuna steaks for 30 minutes at room temperature. If you are preparing this beforehand then pop them in the fridge but take them out for the last 30 minutes so that they reach room temperature.
  2. Add 3 tbsp of oil from the marinade to a frying (or top up with olive oil to make up 3 tbsp)
    Heat the pan to medium heat (ours goes from 1 to 9 and D cooks them at 5)
  3. Pop in the tuna steaks and cook them on one side to 2.5 minutes, uncovered. Then turn them over and cook on the other side for 1.5 minutes.
  4. Test to make sure that they are cooked. If they are too rare turn the temperature down and cook them for another minute or so on either side.
  5. Pour over the juices from the pan and serve with new potatoes and a simple green vegetable such as French beans, Mangetout or garden peas.

  Leave a reply


  1. Cumbrian

    Nothing wrong with microwaving fish, I never cook it any other way.
    Fresh tuna steaks were for dinner today, just a little sunflower oil rubbed in and then in the microwave, full power only a minute and a half.
    With baby new potatoes and garden peas.

  2. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Veronica

    I’m sorry but I missed this comment – your recipe looks great. Thanks.

    Hello May

    I must look mout for Swartz Fish Seasoning when I’m next in the shops.

    I didn’t know that overmarinading fish can ruin the texture. Thanks for the tip.

  3. I’m a marinading fan too, I think I read somewhere if you marinade fish
    for longer than half an hour it breaks down (I think that means it goes all woolly as it does when overcooked). I nearly always cook fish in the microwave (pause for gasps of horror) as it’s not only the cheapest form of cooking but it also retains the flavour. I can reccommend Scwartz Fish Seasoning for marinading (as well as your other ingredients) it makes the dish a bit special.

  4. Veronica

    heh, brilliant — brought a smile to my face early in the morning yet again! I think you could have just eaten the perfectly cooked tuna cold with the roasties 🙂 But here’s an oven-baked tuna and potato recipe which is really good:

    I hope Fiona isn’t overdoing it and is on the mend.

  5. Ha! This will teach me to rat on Fiona’s very rare bloopers:
    I placed the tuna in the marinade in an ovenproof flan dish (luckily) and popped it in the fridge because there were flies buzzing around the kitchen, as the back door is always open in pleasant weather. Then I had second thoughts because the fridge would be too cold for fast marinading so I moved it into the oven, being a fly-proof sanctuary.

    Ten minutes later, we decided to do a variation on Fiona’s mini-roasts so I turned on the oven to 220 C fan (yes!). Half way through my first whisky, the mental alarm bell triggered. The tuna was perfectly cooked, nice and rare as we like it, so I set it aside in a cool place while I prepared and cooked the mini-roasts using John Coe’s very waxy new potatoes. At the end, I put the tuna back in the oven to reheat.

    The result was disappointing because the reheating process overcooked the tuna and the marinade oils were too cool and thick so the overall effect was too heavy although we wolfed down every last scrap. However, next time I will try an oven bake method, removing most of the marinade and pre-heating the oven dish. I reckon it could co-exist in the hot oven with chips or mini-roasts for the final 4 minutes.

    Time to go. It’s 8 p.m. The question has been raised from the garden through my open office window: “Who is doing the cooking tonight?” Translation: when are you going to start cooking supper for goodness sake? For a lady who has been quite ill for over two weeks, she gets a spurt of energy late afternoons. Now she is tussling with overgrown roses, wielding her hefty loppers. I am surprised that she is not still wearing her pyjamas!

  6. I am cooking this again this evening (yes, following a daring dusk raid on the reduced price counter) and I had forgotten these great comments that we enjoyed very much at the time!

    S.O.L. – that is a great, great story and also great advice about simply asking at what time items are reduced. I forgot all about it. Another weapon in the “save money” armoury. Many thanks indeed.

    Martyn – buried salmon, eh? I really had no idea. I think I will do a little research. Thing is, I would have to bury it fairly deep to keep foraging Min Pins at bay. Worth an experiment.

    Pamela, Pamela, Pamela !!! It took me a few seconds to remember the dog food episode 🙂
    Thankfully it is a very rare occurence in this house recently. Fiona has grown very adept at knowing what ingredients go well together and she is the queen of “how to pull a dish around” techniques. Having said that, there was a minor episode this evening, but it has been brushed under the carpet (or flushed down the toilet, to be exact). Then again, she has been ill for the past two weeks, so major allownaces are granted.

  7. Danny, again with the dog food! Now I’ve gone beyond wondering how you know what dog food tastes like and have been inventing possible scenarios. I’m thinking that maybe the dogs in your life have been eating very well and you were tricked by an evil older brother into eating the dog’s food and only after you had eated several mouthfuls did he tell you it was for the dogs. Or perhaps you chose dare in a game of truth or dare and had to eat dog food? Or do you just have a vivid imagination?

  8. Many moons ago, when I worked in a supermarket. I had the position of a Code Checker, this was a posh name for someone who checks all the dates on the food products to check they aren’t near their date and reduce them to get rid of them.

    There are always people who hover around, the reduced area. Then there are the really annoying people, who know you are the person who reduces the items. They then follow you, worse that your own shadow. Watching what you put in to your cart. Then pester you like hell to mark it down that SECOND. There was an Asian lady who would be constantly poking me. YES SHE POKED me in the ribs all the time. Till in the end I spoke to the section manager, as I hated it. Then to freak them all out, I started to work random shift patterns, the manager had witnessed and even seen the bruises. My parents were none to pleased, by the marks.

    Then she started to ask me what my shift pattern was for the week!

    So in the end, all the food was put into the cart, wheeled out the back, to the chiller, I stood in the freezing cold, so she couldn’t see me and not call to me. Damn those name badges! Then I had one of the trolley boys, put it into the fridges for me, in the reduced area.

    So please all bare in mind, the person who is marking the food down, is a person. They are told how much items are to be marked to. The machine does it. And no they cant change it just for you.

    You can also always ask at the deli and meat counter, at what time they have to mark their items down. They will be happy to tell you so that they don’t have to fill all the forms in for the wastage. They are normally told it is something like 5.30pm…

    Happy bargain hunting!

  9. Er, I think it’s gravadlax, meaning ‘buried salmon’ in possibly Norwegian, although it could be Swedish, or even Danish. It gets colloquially shortened to gravlax, I believe…

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