Quickly Dry-Cure Fresh Tuna At Home For The Best Texture Results

A well-cooked tuna steak is tender but chewy, flavorful but not fishy. The way you cook your fish will greatly influence how it turns out, but there is one trick you can use before the tuna makes contact with heat that is going to help ensure better texture once it hits the plate; try dry-curing your tuna before you cook it.

Dry-curing uses salt as a way of interacting with the moisture in the fish. It's a common technique in preparing other types of meat, too. It is similar to brining, a cooking technique in which a cut of meat or fish is infused with a wet or dry mixture of salt (and sometimes other seasonings) to tenderize it before it is cooked. In some instances, tuna is salt-cured to remove all of the moisture from the tuna, thereby preserving it. But in this case, you will instead be using salt as a way to elevate the interior and exterior texture of the fish in just half an hour.

How to dry-cure tuna

To dry-cure tuna at home, take a fresh piece of tuna (if it was frozen, make sure it is completely thawed) and coat it on both sides with kosher salt. Then seal it inside something airtight — either a container or a bag will work. Let it sit for 30 minutes, and then remove the tuna and rinse the salt off using cool water.

This brief dry-cure will do two things for your tuna. It will help the fish retain its moisture so that your meal stays firm and doesn't get dry or stringy. It will also help create a crispy texture on the skin if you plan to bake or pan-fry the tuna. As an added bonus, as long as your diet can accommodate that exposure to salt, it sets the stage for a great flavor profile too, which you can build upon with other spices or sauces, or complement with side dishes.