One of the first things I tried when I bought my SousVide Supreme was fresh tuna. I like mine sushi-rare, and always found it challenging to cook this particular fish to that state of perfection on the barbeque or stove top.
Tuna is one of those fish that needs to be watched carefully, and it continues cooking once it’s out of the pan. More often than I care to admit, what I thought was rare tuna morphed into medium rare (or worse) by the time I got it off the stove and onto the plate.
I had great expectations for sous vide tuna, but my first experiments were not a success. On four separate occasions I managed to overcook the tuna, even while following Thomas Keller’s instructions. Finally, I gave up, deciding that tuna is one of those things (like french fries), that’s just not a candidate for sous vide cooking (with the exception of homemade canned “tuna fish,” which is terrific).
About a week ago (now some 18 months after my initial debacles), my husband brought home some lovely tuna and suggested I give it another try. I was skeptical, but I’ve learned a lot over the past year about sous vide cooking, so my approach this time was radically different.
Where originally I had cooked this fish at 130°F, I was now going way, way lower. Although the water feels barely hot at 110°F, it cooked the tuna perfectly in just 15 minutes. A quick sear on both sides to brown my spice crust, and the tuna was sushi-rare, just the way I like it. Success at last!
If you’re interested in making sustainable seafood choices, we recommend the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch web page, pocket guide, and mobile phone apps.
- Preheat the water oven to 110°F (43°C).
- Combine the fennel and coriander seeds and white peppercorns in a spice grinder and blitz to a powder. The recipe as written makes more spice rub than is needed for the tuna, but it will keep in a sealed container for 6 months. It’s also delicious on chicken and pork.
- Spread about 2 tablespoons of the spice mixture on a plate. Dip each piece of tuna in the spices, coating all surfaces. Place 1 piece of fish in a food bag and seal. Repeat with the second piece of tuna.
- Cook for exactly 15 minutes.
- Remove the tuna from the bags, discarding any accumulated juices. Meanwhile, heat a cast-iron skillet over high heat until it smokes, drizzle with olive oil, and add the tuna. Cook for 30 seconds, then flip the fish and cook 30 seconds more. Serve immediately.