Eat This!


Tuna and green beans for a complete and colorful meal.

The smell of saltwater brings me back to fun-filled days on the beach and warm, balmy breezes at night. The ocean represents many things to me. My family spent summers at the Jersey shore, and I made a lot of memories. The one that stands out the most was the impressive, aromatic seafood dinners that graced our table almost every night.
Now for honesty. I had not always enjoyed those meals, because I just didn’t like seafood as a child. It took many years of trial and error at restaurants and trying my own recipes to get where I love eating and cooking seafood today.
I headed to the grocery store to see what looked fresh. I pegged the wild-caught tuna steaks immediately. They were thick, a nice deep red and firm. I bagged up a pound of fresh, local green beans and six sweet potatoes, and headed home to prepare for my six guests.
For this recipe, I have fresh garlic, soy sauce, maple syrup, and lemon on hand. I lay out the fish on a cutting board; then sprinkled each side lightly with salt and pepper.
Next, I take a container or baggy and add a cup and a half of soy sauce, a quarter cup of wasabi puree, and a quarter cup of freshly minced garlic. I add it all into the bag, seal it up and let it sit to marinate. I save the lemon and a little more wasabi for later.
For tuna steaks, I marinate for three hours or less. I do not have time to kill, so I put them aside for the time it takes to prepare my other ingredients.
I preheat the oven to 450 degrees for the sweet potato fries. I peel away the skins and they yield a wonderful bright orange color. I carefully slice them into wedges before I place them on a foil-lined and lightly oiled cookie sheet.
Placing them apart, I salt and pepper and add my sleeper ingredient, maple syrup. A nice medium drizzle is perfect. I cut some lemons in half to put on the grill later.
I fill a one-quart pot with just enough water to fill the bottom for the green beans. I want to steam them, not boil.
I head out in the fresh air to light the grill on the patio. I turn the grill on medium high to burn off any remaining debris for about ten minutes then lower it to medium. I head back to the house to put the sweet potato fries in the hot inferno that has become my oven. A high heat is necessary for a crispy, moist fry.
The grill is ready, so I retrieve the tuna and marinade and put it all in a dish. I carefully lay the tuna steaks evenly across the grill and listen to them sizzle. Timing is very important. I want the steaks done medium-rare, so five to seven minutes a side. I pour half of the saved juices over the top, then close the grill.
I head back inside and put the green beans in the boiling water and quickly cover them for no longer than 10 minutes. I want them cooked through, but still crunchy.
The potatoes are about half done, so I open the oven and flip the wedges. I add more salt, pepper and maple syrup. I send it back into the oven for another ten minutes.
I see a nice plume of smoke coming from the grill, so I head outside and pop the lid then quickly flip the tuna and apply another layer of juices. Knowing how I can get distracted, I put my lemon halves on the grill to char and set my phone alarm for seven minutes.
I check on both the beans and the sweet potatoes, and they are done. I take the beans off and add four tablespoons of butter and a sprinkle of salt, pepper and garlic powder. I then pull the wedges out of the oven and give them a quick poke. They are perfect.
My phone timer goes off and as I approach the grill, I can smell the wonderful aroma. As I lift the lid, I see the steaks have a wonderful brown, glazy appearance from the cooked marinade.
Now that everything is done cooking and I have cleaned my surfaces, I plate the food. I try to make the plate as inviting as the food itself. It’s important to not overcrowd the plate, as it is part of the presentation. Remember, guests can always come back for seconds.
The finishing touch to the plate is the charred lemon and a dab of wasabi. This is one of my favorite seafood meals because even though it’s fish, it’s hearty, full of flavor and pops with enough color that your guests might just make a memory of it.