There's Only One Type Of Spice You Should Be Using For Fresh Tuna

Fresh tuna is one of the loveliest ingredients to work with; it's versatile, flavorful, and healthy, though it does need to be handled with care, lest you turn that tuna steak into an inedibly tough waste of protein. You don't want to marinate your tuna too long, for example, as acidic marinades can actually start to "cook" the fish, making it tough by the time you sear it.

One of the keys to understanding how to use seasonings is knowing when to use whole spices, and when you should opt for ground. Here's your tuna tip: When you're cooking fresh tuna, you want to reach for ground, rather than whole spices. Why? Because it takes a relatively long cook time to extract the flavors from whole spices. By the time that you extract the desired flavors from them through cooking, your tuna will be about as tender as a hockey puck.

Ground spices infuse flavor in a flash

Whether you choose to bathe your fresh tuna in a marinade or slather it with a dry rub, ground spices will ensure every part of the flesh comes in contact with the flavorful spices. Take whole black peppercorns, for instance; there are two ways to unlock the powerful kick that's inside those peppercorns — you can either cook them for a long time to draw out their flavor, or you can crack them, giving you that delightful aroma and flavor in a form that will easily adhere to your fresh tuna and also evenly distribute the spice.

Whatever spices you choose — a medley of peppercorns, allspice, cumin, cardamom, mustard, fennel seed — if you only have them on hand as whole spices, you're much better off grinding them before using their fragrant flavors to complement your fresh tuna. Of course, you can use fresh ingredients like ginger, cilantro, and jalapeño to make simple seared tuna, but if you're craving complex spices and have a well-stocked pantry, opt for ground spices, rather than whole to ensure every bite of your quickly seared fresh tuna is delectable.