If you have some tuna steaks and you want to barbeque, this recipe introduces you to a recipe designed with gentle Asian flavors in mind, although instead of using Asian vegetables like bok choy, Chinese mushrooms or snow peas, we are using baby spinach. That offers a mild, aromatic flavor, and it provides a vivid green base for the dish. The juicy tuna will sit on top of the baby spinach and then you will be adding some green onion for garnish, plus a homemade lime butter which has been spiced with a little wasabi to add a distinctive Asian kick.

Fresh Tuna is a Joy to Cook

Working with fresh tuna is a real pleasure. It is a beautiful fish to work with and the possibilities are endless. Tuna may be served raw as Carpaccio, or you can just sear the outside to brown it, leaving the inside red raw. Tuna can be served as sashimi, which means strips of raw fish, or sushi, which means it combines with rice and perhaps other ingredients like nori (dried seaweed) or vegetables. Although it is often prepared in these Asian styles, tuna can also be cooked Western-style, flavored with lemon or lime, along with other herbs and/or spices, and then barbequed, pan-fried or even baked.

A Very Important Tip!

One thing I absolutely have to say here, and you probably know what is coming, is that it is imperative to cook the tuna for as short a time as possible. Overcooking it results in a tough, dry mess which is only fit for the trashcan (or the cat). Good quality tuna may be served raw, which means there is no such thing as undercooking. However, if you wish to cook it on the barbeque to add a nice brown sear and a light smoky aroma, you have the choice of simply browning the outside (which is known as searing) or cooking it more. Some people like ¼ inch of brown on the outside and then a red center while others prefer it more done, browned and just slightly pink inside. The less it is cooked the juicier it will be.

You will be cooking the tuna on the barbeque and the lime butter in a pan. The spinach and green onion should be washed and prepared in advance, and to hand when you are assembling the dish, so the first thing you should do is prepare the barbeque and let it heat up, then while that is happening you can rinse your spinach and chop the green onion. The butter should be cut into cubes because you will be adding a little at a time to the lime, whisking to melt and blend it before adding more, so get that ready too.

If you are making the lime butter in the kitchen, do that first and then cook the tuna quickly and the butter sauce will still be warm. If possible, put the pan directly on the barbeque and cook the lime butter sauce alongside the tuna, then you can use the same cooking method for both items, keep an eye on them both, and be assured of having both ready at the same time. A sprinkling of either chili powder or paprika adds a splash of red to this dish, but this is an optional ingredient.

Tempting Tuna Steak with Lime Butter
Summary: Fresh tuna steaks are barbequed and then served with a tangy lime wasabi butter on a bed of fresh baby spinach leaves. This unusual dish features delicate Asian flavors.
Cuisine: Asian Fusion
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 4 tuna steaks, about 6 oz each and 1 inch thick
  • Small bag of baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 chopped green onion, for garnish
  • Chili pepper or paprika, for garnish
For the Lime Butter Sauce:
  • ⅓ cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon wasabi paste
  • 4 oz butter, chopped into cubes
  1. Preheat the barbeque to a medium-high heat.
  2. Heat the lime juice in a pan over a low heat, then stir in the butter, bit by bit.
  3. Whisk the mixture and keep cooking until the butter has melted.
  4. Take the pan off the heat, whisk in the wasabi and add salt to taste.
  5. If you like wasabi, add up to 3 teaspoons, but for a gentler hint, just add the one.
  6. Brush oil over both sides of the tuna and add salt.
  7. Cook for 2 minutes per side or until the tuna is done to your liking.
  8. Arrange baby spinach on 4 serving plates and drizzle with half the lime butter sauce.
  9. Add the tuna then sprinkle the green onion on top.
  10. Drizzle the rest of the sauce over the tuna or around it on the plate.
  11. If you like you can sprinkle on some chili powder or paprika to add more color to the dish.

Photo Description:

Colorful and appealing, this Asian tuna recipe is always a winner. Every component on the plate from the vivid green baby spinach and green onion to the bright yellow butter sauce, and of course the juicy tuna steak itself, is eye-catching and looks fresh and gorgeous. The baby spinach (or lambs’ ear lettuce if you prefer) is topped with the tuna, and you can see if you look at the side of the tuna some pinkness shining through. That is how you want to cook your tuna, until the outside is browned but the inside is still juicy and half-raw.



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Christine Szalay-Kudra

My name is Christine and I am delighted to welcome you here. Easy Barbeque Recipes aims to demystify the world of barbequing and turn anyone into a brilliant backyard chef regardless of culinary knowledge or past cooking experience. Cooking with fire is not only an easy cooking method but it is the original cooking method. An open fire was used to cook before there were such things as ovens, microwaves or crockpots. Barbequing is not just a cooking method either. It is a social event. Inviting friends over and grilling food for them is always fun and adding home-cooked food to any party is a surefire way to please a crowd. Nothing beats the incredible flavor of flame-grilled food, and you can barbeque all kinds of ingredients and recipes, including meat, poultry, fish, seafood, veggies, and even pizza.


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