© Antonis Achilleos
Yellowfin tuna with jalapeño-cumin butter
1⁄4 c. (60 ml) peanut or vegetable oil
four 6-oz. (170-g) yellowfin tuna steaks, approximately 1 in. (2.5 cm) thick
2 tsp. (10 ml) salt
2 tbsp. (30 ml) cumin seeds
jalapeño-cumin butter (recipe follows)
4 lime wedges
Preheat the oven to 175°F (80°C). Use a dab of the oil to rub the tuna steaks all over and liberally salt both sides. Sprinkle one side with the cumin seeds.
Heat a large cast-iron pan over high heat. Let the pan get very hot before adding the oil. Once you do, wait for it to shimmer before you put the tuna steaks in, cumin-side up. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes and turn.
Cook the cumin-coated side of the tuna for just 1 minute. Transfer to a plate and place 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of the jalapeño-cumin butter on each portion before resting it for 3 minutes in the warming oven. Finish with a squeeze of lime. Serves 4. Suggested side: butternut goat cheese argula salad.
Fish note Buy troll- or pole-caught yellowfin tuna from Canadian or US waters. Substitute mahi mahi. Don’t ever buy bluefin — ranched or wild.
4 tbsp. (60 g) butter, at room temperature
1 shallot, chopped
2 tbsp. (30 ml) cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 tbsp. (15 ml) coriander seeds, toasted and ground
1 jalapeño with seeds, minced (about 3 tbsp./45 ml)
In a small bowl, mash together the butter, shallot, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and jalapeño. Set aside.
On toasting Is it really necessary to toast spices? It’s important; here’s why. Spices contain oils — which is also why they go bad relatively quickly. These oils, when heated, undergo chemical changes that release their fragrance.
In addition, toasting produces that famous Maillard reaction, resulting in new, rich and intense flavours. When we heat anything to the point of browning — whether it’s farro, coffee beans, cumin, or coconut — it tastes different, and better.
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