Grilling, Salt, and Tuna - a Great Combination
If you've never used a salt block on your grill, now's a great time to learn about how simple & delicious the results can be.
What is a Himalayin Salt Block?
Salt blocks are natural rock formations found around the world, but most salt blocks harvested for cooking come from the Himalayan region in Asia. They come in many shapes & sizes and but they are commonly at least a few inches thick - which can prove very useful while cooking.
How Do You Use a Himalayan Salt Block?
Due to the weight, density, and flat surface of a salt block, cooking with one can provide several benefits. Think of it like a naturally salty cast iron skillet. It can take up to 10 minutes to get hot, but once it's preheated a salt block makes a perfect surface to perform restaurant-quality searing. Things like steak, fish, veggies (and many others!) can all be seared to perfection while obtaining the natural salt flavor it provides.
Among the many wonderful searing companions, tuna is one of my favorites. Increasingly popular among restaurants now, a sesame seared tuna is an extremely easy dish to pull off - served with its usual friends: soy sauce & wasabi. All in all, it's quite delicious, and if you butcher your tuna right you can get make some tuna tartare as an appetizer.
Interested in a salt block for your grill, shop here!
How to Prepare the Tuna
1. Before working on the tuna, place your salt block on a cold grill and turn then turn the heat to high.
2. Next, beginning with larger chunks of tuna, I like to break mine down into individual portions.
3. Start by cutting your tuna into 2-inch wide strips.
Note: You'll notice the "scrap" pieces to the left that contain more connective tissue. This is what I like to reserve for tartare since that connective tissue will be broken down by cutting it into smaller pieces.
4. Cut into individual sized portions, I shoot for about 4 inches, giving you a generous 2" x 4" tuna steak.
5. Season the tuna. Be very generous with sesame seeds--I use a combo of black & white, but focus on the black for the contrast with the seared tuna. You can find black sesame seeds at any Asian grocery store if you're lucky enough to have one. Make sure to season all four sides, as we'll be searing the tuna on all four sides.
6. Your salt block should be plenty hot by now (say about 20 minutes to heat up thoroughly--it is dense.) Place tuna on the salt block and allow to sear about 60 seconds per side, just searing the outermost portion.
7. Sear all four sides of tuna. Slice thin to serve, or leave it more like a steak--it's your choice.
I served mine with an enhanced soy pudding, a spiced pea puree, seaweed salad, and radish.
How to Prepare the Tuna Tartare
Here's the list of ingredients you'll need for the tuna tartare:
- 1 jalapeno, deseeded & brunoise
- 1 tbsp red onion, brunoise
- 1 tbsp ginger, brunoise
- 1 tsp garlic, brunoise
- 1 tbsp Sambal
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp Go-Chu-Jang
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp rice vinegar
- grated lemongrass to taste
1. Begin by dicing the remaining tuna into smaller cubes and place in a mixing bowl.
2. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, and serve. I served it three ways: with cilantro, radish, and crispy wontons.