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Natural Blue Ahi Tuna Steaks

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Different Varieties Of Tuna

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Different types of tuna have different qualities and culinary uses. Pictured in todays recipe is yellowfin tuna which is the most common type of tuna sold at fish mongers here in Australia. Its an excellent all-rounder tuna with a mild flavour, used for everything from sashimi / raw to canning.

The other main types of tuna you might come across are:

  • Skipjack tuna Most commonly used for canned tuna, it has a stronger taste than other types

  • Albacore tuna Also used for canning light coloured flesh

  • Bluefin tuna The most highly prized tuna for its rich flesh and eating qualities, especially by the Japanese. This is the type that sells for mind-boggling prices at the famous Tokyo tuna auctions

  • Bigeye tuna Another highly valued tuna, the second most expensive after bluefin tuna and

  • Ahi tuna This is a Hawaiian name covering both yellowfin and bigeye tuna. People in the US know it for things like Poke Bowls.

Types And Nutrition Of Tuna

Tuna is a saltwater fish thats used in cuisines all over the world.

There are several varieties, including skipjack, albacore, yellowfin, bluefin, and bigeye. They range in size, color, and taste .

Tuna is a highly nutritious, lean protein. In fact, 2 ounces of albacore tuna contain (

Canned tuna is cooked during processing, while fresh tuna is often served rare or raw.

Raw tuna is a common ingredient in sushi and sashimi, which are Japanese dishes made from a combination of rice, raw fish, vegetables, and seaweed.


Tuna is a lean protein that contains omega-3 fatty acids as well as several vitamins and minerals. Its often served raw or barely cooked but is also available canned.

Who Should Not Eat Raw Tuna

Pregnant and breastfeeding women, children, older adults, and people with compromised immune systems, such as those undergoing cancer treatment, should not eat raw tuna.

These populations are at an increased risk of foodborne illnesses if exposed to parasites from raw or undercooked tuna.

Whats more, pregnant and breastfeeding women and children are especially susceptible to the effects of mercury and thus should limit or avoid both raw and cooked tuna .

However, all adults should generally be cautious about tuna consumption, as most varieties exceed the daily limit for mercury consumption suggested by health authorities in the United States and other countries .

Both raw and cooked tuna should be consumed in moderation.

Still, adults should eat 35 ounces of fish 23 times per week to get enough omega-3 fatty acids. To meet this suggestion, focus on fish thats lower in mercury, such as salmon, cod, or crab, and limit tuna to an occasional treat .


Pregnant and breastfeeding women, children, older adults, and people with compromised immune systems may be especially susceptible to parasitic infections and mercury and should avoid raw tuna.

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Does Seared Tuna Need To Be Sushi Grade

In short most likely, yes. BUT, there actually isnt an official sushi-grade that fish can earn by meeting certain standards. So, while some stores sell fish with that label, it really means that it is the best, highest-quality fish the store is offering and they would feel safe eating it raw. While there is no universal or government-regulated sushi-grade available for fish, parasitic fish are required to be frozen to kill any parasites before being consumed raw. Additionally, tuna is actually graded by wholesalers. But, again there is no sushi-grade. There is a Grade 1, which is the best grade tuna you can get and is, most likely what a store would consider sushi grade.

So, yes, if you are making seared tuna it is safest if it is sushi-grade, BUT knowing what you now know about that phrase and how it is completely unregulated, it may also be just as safe to ask a lot of questions before buying any fish to be consumed raw. Is it the highest quality fish available, is it a reputable store, etc. The Kitchn provides a good list of questions to ask here! Its also important to use it right away after purchasing and make sure your cutting board and utensils are super clean!

How To Safely Eat Raw Tuna

Natural Blue Ahi Tuna Steaks (12 oz) from Safeway

Cooking tuna is the best way to get rid of parasites and lower your risk of foodborne illness. Still, its possible to safely eat raw tuna.

The Food and Drug Administration recommends freezing raw tuna in one of the following ways to eliminate parasites :

  • freezing at -4 or below for 7 days
  • freezing at -31°F or below until solid and storing at -31°F or below for 15 hours
  • freezing at -31°F or below until solid and storing at -4°F or below for 24 hours

Frozen raw tuna should be defrosted in the refrigerator before consumption.

Following this method will likely kill most parasites, but a small risk remains that not all parasites were eliminated.

Most restaurants that serve sushi or other forms of raw tuna follow the FDA recommendations on freezing.

If youre concerned about how your raw tuna was prepared, ask for more information and be sure to only eat raw tuna from reputable restaurants.

If you plan on making a raw tuna dish at home, look for a reputable fishmonger whos knowledgeable about the origin of their fish and how it is handled.


Raw tuna is generally safe to eat if it has been frozen to kill parasites in accordance with FDA guidelines.

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Why Is Ahi Tuna Cooked To Rare

This variety of fish should not be overcooked because it will dry out and not taste as good. Searing the outside kills bacteria, but you should always ensure that youre using sushi-grade fish since the middle is left raw. If you prefer to cook it more medium-rare, add on an extra 30 seconds or so per side, but watch it carefully once you overcook it, you cant go back.

What Goes Well With Pan Seared Tuna Steaks

So you make this lovely, simple seared ahi tuna recipe what should you serve with it?? Here are some of my favorites:

Alright, you guys are now seared tuna pros! Excited for you to try this super simple pan seared tuna recipe!!!

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How Much Does Instacart Delivery Or Pickup Cost

  • Delivery fees start at $3.99 for same-day orders over $35. Fees vary for one-hour deliveries, club store deliveries, and deliveries under $35.
  • Service fees vary and are subject to change based on factors like location and the number and types of items in your cart. Orders containing alcohol have a separate service fee.
  • Tipping is optional but encouraged for delivery orders. It’s a great way to show your shopper appreciation and recognition for excellent service. 100% of your tip goes directly to the shopper who delivers your order.
  • There may be a “pickup fee” on your pick up order that is typically $1.99 for non-Express members. Express membership waives this like it would a delivery fee.
  • Pick up orders have no service fees, regardless of non-Express or Express membership.

What Is Ahi Tuna

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Yellowfin and bigeye tuna are both marketed as ahi tuna. You can buy them as steaks I recommend buying ones that are about 0.75-1 thick for this recipe. You can buy frozen tuna steaks from most quality grocery stores and thaw them in the fridge, or try going to a fish market and getting fresh ones.

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Is Seared Ahi Tuna Safe

I think when people ask this question they are wondering if by searing the tuna, it somehow makes it safer, even though the inside is still raw. In my humble opinion, the answer is very similar to the previous question. I think seared tuna is safer than a purely raw piece of tuna, but the inside is still raw. For that reason, I follow the same guidelines as discussed above before buying raw fish. The highest quality available , use it right away and make sure your cutting board and utensils are super clean!

Definitely not sharing this with you to scare you by any means, but I think its important to be a safe/smart consumer of raw fish! Just educate yourself and you really dont have much to worry about! Of course, only eat it if you feel comfortable! Me sushi and seared tuna are seriously some of may favorite foods and I eat them ALL the time!!

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How To Cook Tuna Steak

The trick to cooking tuna steak perfectly is a screaming hot skillet so you can sear the outside nicely while keeping the inside raw. It has to be super-hot because its only on the stove for 2 1/2 minutes!

  • Oil and season steaks Rub oil on the tuna steak then sprinkle with salt and pepper. I like to use olive oil because it has a bit of flavour, but any oil is fine here

  • Preheat skillet until smoking hot Use a heavy-based skillet so it can be preheated until its so hot that you see smoke coming from the pan.

    TIPS:Do not use a non-stick fry pan. These are not made for high heat cooking and you will ruin the non-stick coating Do not oil the skillet before preheating. It will smoke out your house! If its a well-seasoned* cast iron pan or grill pan, as I have used, then theres no need to add oil into the skillet because weve oiled the tuna If you need to oil a skillet , wait until it is super-hot then lightly brush with oil. Use either a heat-proof basting brush, paper towel lightly dipped in oil, OR take it off the heat then spray lightly with oil. Never spray a screaming hot skillet with oil ON a gas stove if you value your eyebrows and your house its a fire hazard!!* A seasoned pan is cast iron or carbon steel pan that has developed a natural non-stick patina through repeated use. It should also be kept lightly oiled to stop it from rusting

  • Should Tuna Steak Be Raw In The Middle Yes

    Natural Blue Ahi Tuna Steak

    If youre wondering if tuna steak should be raw in the middle, the short answer is YES. A properly cooked tuna steak should be seared on the outside but raw on the inside.

    This is because tuna steaks are cut from the loin of the fish. This part of the tuna, identifiable by its even, translucent pink or red colour with little fat, is lean. Once cooked, it tends to become quite dry think of canned tuna and the texture it has. Its a bit like overcooked chicken breast! As much as we love our canned tuna, we dont want to eat a whole steak of that!

    Serving the tuna with a rare centre ensures the inside remains tender and succulent. Tuna that is medium or well done will start to resemble our friend the canned tuna except without the canning oil that conveniently makes up for that dryness!

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    Do Frozen Ahi Tuna Steaks Need To Be Seared

    I have a bag of frozen ahi tuna steaks purchased from Costco. Some of them have been quite tasty when seared. That said, I heartily enjoy raw tuna, so I am intrigued with the idea of trying them raw.

    Fwiw, the steaks are not labeled as sushi grade, but I am not sure how much that really matters. From my brief research, it appears that the primary determining factor for what qualifies as sushi grade is the fat & oil content of the fish. That might imply that these wouldn’t be as tasty as fresh sushi, but it does not really have any bearing on whether or not these steaks would be good without searing.

    Is there any reason that they specifically need to be seared?

    • 1from the sound of it you have been thawing, searing and eating with basically a raw interior already? if so then I don’t see how not searing is making a big difference from what your already consuming.

    With fish, you have two safety concerns: parasites and bacteria.

    Freezing gets rid of parasites. It does not kill bacteria. You need heat to kill bacteria, that’s why officially, food is only considered safe after being cooked to a specific temperature. Eating thawed uncooked fish is officially unsafe, and if you tried to sell it to people, the FDA would come after you.

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    Can Be High In Mercury

    Some varieties of tuna may be high in mercury, which is a heavy metal that winds up in ocean waters as a result of pollution. It accumulates in tuna over time, as the fish is higher up in the food chain, feeding on smaller fish that contain varying amounts of mercury .

    As a result, large species of tuna, such as albacore, yellowfin, bluefin, and bigeye, are often high in mercury .

    Most of the tuna that is served raw as steaks or in sushi and sashimi comes from these varieties.

    In fact, one study that tested 100 raw tuna sushi samples in the northeastern United States found that the average mercury content exceeded the recommended daily limit for mercury in the United States and Japan .

    Consuming too much raw tuna may lead to high levels of mercury in your body, which can cause serious health issues, including brain and heart damage .


    Some varieties of raw tuna, especially bigeye and bluefin, may be very high in mercury. Consuming too much mercury can damage your brain and heart and lead to serious health issues.

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    How To Make Seared Ahi Tuna

    Step One: Season your ahi tuna with salt and pepper. Press sesame seeds into each side.

    Step Two: Sear on both sides in a hot cast iron skillet about 30 second per side.

    Step Three: Remove from the skillet and let rest 5 minutes. Serve however you wish and enjoy!

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    Best Sauces And Toppings For Tuna Steak

    Being a relatively mild flavoured fish, tuna lends itself for all sorts of possibilities when it comes to a sauce. Bright and fresh sauces and accompaniments work best with this tuna, rather than very buttery or creamy type sauces .

    Here are some suggestions:

    Theres just a few ideas to get you started!

    • Chimichurri sauce
    • Salsa Verde
    • Mexican Salsa

    Scrolling back through everything Ive written, this seems like an unusually long post for a recipe that supposedly takes 2 1/2 minute flat to cook!

    Truthfully, I just want you to feel confident when you decide to try this recipe. So I have walked through all the information I thought you might want to know, even if youve never cooked tuna steak before.

    I hope you find it useful, and more importantly that it looks so delicious that you cant resist giving it a go! Remember, tuna steak is:

    Healthy Low fat, low calories, high protein, and contains essential amino acids A unique and delicious fish Fine dining-worthy, but still affordable and can be done at home!

    Nagi x

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