The Dried Seasoning That Will Elevate Grilled Tuna Steaks

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When you're working with amazing ingredients like a carefully chosen, gorgeous tuna steak, sometimes the simplest preparations are the best. Once you've picked out your tuna steak, making sure it smells fresh and has a lovely, even color, free of any brownish streaks that might indicate it's oxidized, the stage is set.

Because tuna steak is so lean, it's prone to drying out during the cooking process, meaning that you'll want to move quickly and make sure you don't overcook your fish. While cooking tuna steak sous vide is certainly one option for ensuring the tuna doesn't dry out, you can achieve tasty, flavorful tuna from the stove top, the oven, and the grill as well.

As for how to season that tuna, why not look to a place with an ancient tradition of tuna fishing like Sicily, per Delicious Italy? For residents of the southern Italian island, tuna fishing has long been a part of the culture and tuna is prepared in a variety of delightful ways. In Sicily, tuna is salted, smoked, conserved, and yes, served up fresh, simply grilled and seasoned with a local herb that carries the flavor of its terroir.

Wild oregano marries beautifully with grilled tuna

Renowned TV chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author Lidia Bastianich sings the praises of using dried wild oregano for seasoning fresh tuna steaks hot off the grill. She specifically mentions Sicilian wild oregano, which, according to Giada De Laurentiis, is an autochthonous variety of oregano, meaning it's unique from other varieties of oregano and native to Sicily. Sicilian oregano even has a special protected status as a Traditional Agri-Food Products.

Bastianich recommends using dried wild oregano, which hangs in bunches in practically every kitchen in Sicily to enhance the flavor of grilled tuna that's been drizzled with olive oil. De Laurentiis explains the herb is intensely flavored, so it should be used sparingly, though its applications are many and varied — from tomato sauce to salad dressings, seafood, and especially pizza.

Since a trip to Sicily isn't necessarily on all our agendas, we're lucky there are online sources for procuring Sicilian oregano. Tasting Sicily sells the potent dried herb, and it's also available on Amazon.