Tuna steaks don’t have a lot of flavor and many people prefer them that way. It can provide a simpler dining experience when seasoned with only pepper and salt. If you want your fish to have a more vibrant and complex taste, there are many ways that you can go but the best spices for tuna steak are:
Tuna tends to dry out, especially the thinner steaks. Anything thinner than an inch and a half can be considered a thin steak. To keep a tuna steak from getting dry, it is a good idea to marinate it in oil and soy sauce.
Olive oil is one of your healthiest options. Not only will it keep your tuna from sticking to the grill, but it will also help to keep it moist. Drying out is less of a risk with thicker steaks so you may not need to marinate them. Simply brushing a little oil on before placing on the grill may be sufficient.
The mild meatiness of a tuna steak is greatly elevated by the addition of a little heat from black pepper. Freshly ground black pepper will be best as it brings notes of citrus along with its subtle spark from piperine. As with most seafood, the citrus notes are a valuable addition to offset the briny flavors.
Other spicy flavors can work with tuna almost as well as black pepper does. Ginger is a popular option in many Asian tuna dishes and it will work in a western-style preparation as well. It offers a mild heat and slight sweetness that can save a tuna steak from blandness.
Ginger can work in dishes with most of the spices on this list but pairs especially well with soy sauce. Grind the fresh rhizome for use in your marinade or serve pickled ginger as a condiment at the table.
A common ingredient in many seafood dishes, dill pairs just as nicely with tuna as it does other kinds of fish. Dill offers a light and herbaceous citrus note with a hint of licorice.
You can sprinkle chopped fresh dill directly onto your tuna steak or you can add it to a mayonnaise or other sauce. Another option is to add the dill to a marinade that features olive oil, black pepper and other spices from this list.
Tuna is popular in Japan and you will find that many recipes for tuna steaks include Japanese staples ingredients like soy sauce. The salty, caramel, and umami notes of soy sauce work very well with the light flavor of tuna. Not only does soy sauce make a tuna steak more savory, but it will also complement most of the other seasonings on this list.
Lemon or lime juice
Citrus is a key ingredient in seafood recipes where its strong acidity helps to balance out the oceanic notes that some people find off-putting. It can also help to break down some of the proteins resulting in a more tender dish.
Lemon is a traditional option that can help to enhance the flavor of a tuna steak. Also, it will work with most or all of the other seasonings on this list. Lemon juice can be one of the main liquid ingredients in your marinade along with soy sauce and olive oil.