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Chef’s Corner: Yellowfin is mackerel of a dish

By Staff | Mar 8, 2013

Hazelnut crusted yellowfin tuna steak with chablis-citrus sauce.

Yellowfin tuna are members of the very large mackerel family and are found in warm ocean water. They restlessly roam the deeper offshore waters of Florida’s Gulf and Atlantic coasts. They travel in schools and are rapid swimmers, feeding primarily on fish, squid, crab and shrimp.

Yellowfin tuna can weigh up to 300 pounds, but average weight in commercial catches are between 20 and 100 pounds.

There are a number of varieties of tuna with flesh ranging from light to dark. Yellowfin tuna, also known as Ahi, are more common and easy to find in the markets.

Yellowfin tuna can be consumed raw, cooked, smoked and canned. The lean meat is widely used for sashimi, raw fish dishes popular in Japan and a connoisseur’s delicacy in the United States as well. Yellowfin tuna steak have lean meat with a large flake and a sweet mild flavor, firm, dense beef-like texture, and is traditionally cooked rare to medium rare in the center as for beef steak.

When buying fresh tuna, meat should be firm with no discoloration and can be stored in the coolest part of refrigerator at 32 degrees F for up to two days.

Hazelnut Crusted Yellowfin Tuna Steak with Chablis-Citrus Sauce

Chablis-fresh citrus sauce:

1 cup orange juice

1 cup fresh lemon juice

1 cup fresh lime juice

1/2 cup Chablis wine

2 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley

In a sauce pan, heat the orange, lemon and lime juice over medium heat, add Chablis wine and bring to boil until reduced to 1 1/2 cup – about 4-5 minutes. Remove sauce pan from burner and whisk in two tablespoons of butter and parsley.

Set aside and keep warm until the fish is done.


4-6 oz. Florida yellowfin tuna steak, 1 to 1 1/4 inches thick

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill

2 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup toasted hazelnut

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Chablis-fresh citrus sauce


Put hazelnut in a rack sheet pan and toast in oven for five minutes at 350 degrees. Place in food processor, add the fresh dill and process until coarsely ground. Spread mustard on both sides of the tuna and dredge in the hazelnut mixture.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the tuna and cook till brown, adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent burning, 2-3 minutes per side for medium rare. Place in a serving plate arrange pickled ginger on top, pour the sauce over and serve.

Tuna are traditionally cooked rare to medium rare in the center. For rare; cook one minute on each side. For medium center cook 3-4 minutes. For well-done center cook 5-6 minutes.

Leftover cooked tuna is excellent as a salad topper. Reheating is not recommended, unless you chop and add at the end of cream a sauce just warmed through. Serve over rice or pasta.

This is one of my favorites. I love the fresh citrus sauce over the tuna – perfect for anytime of the year.

Recipe courtesy of Chef Aziz of Traditions on the Beach, 3111 West Gulf Drive. For more information or to make a reservation call 239-472-4559 or visit “http://www.TraditionsOnTheBeach.com”>www.TraditionsOnTheBeach.com.