Tuna pepper steak

This tuna pepper steak recipe calls for four types of peppercorns but cooks can choose to use whatever type of peppercorn is on hand.

LEE SVITAK DEAN, MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE

I’m a big fan of tuna and that’s as true on the grill in summer as under the broiler in midwinter. Usually I turn to tapenade (an olive/caper medley processed into a paste) as a topping, but I was ready for something different.

I found that in “Gastro Grilling,” by Ted Reader. He prepares the tuna with some heat — four kinds of peppercorns, plus hot pepper flakes for an extra level of spice.

If you don’t have time to run around looking for different peppercorns, feel free to use whatever you have in the pantry. That said, the different colored peppercorns each offer a slight change of flavor and aroma. Szechuan peppercorns (which are very fragrant) are the ones that may be more difficult to find; Penzeys’ stores carry them.

It’s a snap to make the rub and pat it on the tuna before grilling. But say you want to branch out a bit more on the dinner menu.

You can make a compound butter with green onions to use as a dollop on the finished tuna. And for only another moment of your time, you can add green onions to the grilled mix. With this combo, dinner will look as pretty as it is flavorful.

The key to grilling tuna is to pay attention when it’s on the heat. The fish cooks quickly — it’s best served rare to medium — and even a minor distraction can leave you with a dried-out main course. Now that’s a fish tale you don’t want to tell.

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