How To Select The Best Tuna Steak

While there's nothing wrong with a deli-inspired tuna salad sandwich, sometimes a hearty tuna steak is warranted. A bit pricier than a typical can of albacore, fresh tuna can be worth an occasional splurge. But before you buy, there are some tips you know in order to select the best tuna steak.

Whether it's seared, roasted or served as tartare, tuna has all sorts of healthy benefits when eaten in moderation. Not only is the fish an excellent source of protein, SFGate reports that it's also rich in vitamins A and D, zinc, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids, which can prevent cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and even dementia.

Based on variety (bluefin, yellowfin, albacore, etc.), coloring may vary. City Fish Market explains that bluefin and yellowfin tuna have a deep red color, whereas albacore boasts a pale pink hue. Interestingly, tuna's rich color is the result of high levels of myoglobin, an oxygen-storing protein found in muscle that breaks down when heated, notes the Washington Post. That said, there is one color that should always be avoided.

Avoid brown streaking

Purchasing tuna steaks from a local fishmonger, preferably one with a high turnover rate, can help ensure quality. Fresh tuna should look moist, but not slimy — stay away from cuts that have a rainbow sheen, shares Our Everyday Life.

However, the most important tip in selecting the best tuna steak is uniform coloring. If the filet is covered in brown marks that could indicate oxidation from sitting for too long, notes The Spruce Eats, which should be avoided entirely. While all steak will inevitably have an edible brown steak, Fine Cooking recommends picking filets with minimal streaking as they can have an unpleasant flavor.

Despite the fact that it might be common sense, don't forget to use your sense of smell. Fresh tuna (much like any other fish or seafood) will smell delicately like the sea, so you're definitely going to want to pass on steaks that have a foul, overly fishy fragrance. Happy shopping!