Cooking tuna like steak with a world-renowned seafood chef

Cooking tuna like steak with a world-renowned seafood chef
Courtesy of J.Bolla

'Take One Fish' cookbook author Josh Niland shares a recipe.

However, Aussie chef Josh Niland has still managed to make a name for himself on the world culinary stage, despite being thousands of miles away from Paris, New York, Tokyo, London, Copenhagen and all manner of other global culinary capitals. The chef and restaurateur turned a business imperative to reduce waste into an innovative style of cooking at Saint Peter, a 34-seat seafood restaurant in Sydney.

A fish eyeball was turned into a cracker, a bone into a powder that flavored stock, and fish oil into a caramel. As well as dry-aging fish as you would beef, he used his heat lamp to slowly cook proteins, and more. He was able to spread his new gospel of fish cookery to chefs around the world thanks to Instagram.

A collection of 60 recipes based around 15 different types of fish, grouped by their size, are included in his new book Take One Fish. He detailed his methods in his first book, The Whole Fish Cookbook. Knowing Robb Report readers love steaks, Niland shares a recipe for treating a big, old tuna steak like beef from Take One Fish.

I believe we should do the same thing with tuna, as we do with regular beef steaks, considering if the animal was fed grain- or grass-fed, or if the meat came from a rib or fillet. You will want to be very particular about the quality and provenance of this elaborate cut, so be sure to ask your fishmonger if it has been ethically caught and handled, as well. To make bordelaise sauce, ask for any trimmings, bones, and scraps of tuna.

The warmth and heat transfer generated by the cooking process ensure the desired delicate texture of bone-in tuna, so it is imperative that it remains after it has been cooked. If you cook it over too high a heat for too long on both sides, you will get a dry, powdery finish with raw tuna in the center, which isn't heated enough. Think of it as the beef you're used to cooking, and don't be afraid. Even the most hard-nosed carnivorous critics will be won over by this stunning piece of fish.


Tuna Ribeye with Bordelaise and Fish Fat Yorkshire Puddings

Serves 2 to 3

  • 1 lb. 3 oz. yellowfin tuna steak, bone in
  • 2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 tsp. ground fennel seeds
  • 1.75 oz. ghee, melted
  • sea salt flakes

Fish fat Yorkshire puddings

  • 9 oz. eggs
  • 250 g. plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 0.5 tsp. fine salt
  • 1 c. full-cream (whole) milk
  • 1 c. rendered fish fat or ghee

Bordelaise sauce

  • 5.5 oz. ghee
  • 4.75 lb. tuna bones and trimmings
  • 10 French shallots, finely sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 10 oz. red wine
  • 7 oz. red wine vinegar
  • 12 thyme sprigs
  • 2.5 oz. dark soy sauce
  • 20.5 oz. brown fish stock
  • 1 small tomato, peeled, seeds removed and diced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon
  • 50 g (13/4 oz) yellowfin tuna bone marrow (optional)

The Yorkshire pudding recipe requires that the eggs, flour and salt be combined in a bowl and then the milk is poured in at the same time in order to form a smooth batter for the puddings. Once the mixture has been completed, blend it in a handheld blender and pass it through a fine sieve, then transfer it to the refrigerator and let it rest for at least 24 hours, up to 72 hours.

The bordelaise will be created by heating the ghee over a medium-high heat to a light haze. Once the fish bones and trimmings have been added to the pan, cook for about 20 minutes, scraping any sediment that forms at the bottom of the pan as it forms, until the fish is well browned all over.

Allow the fat to drain from the solids in a colander and set it over a bowl. Once the fat has drained, reserve it for later use. Return the solids, along with the shallot and garlic, and cook until it is just barely pink. It is important to bring the wine, vinegar, and thyme to a simmer, then to cook, stirring, for at least 20 minutes, until the liquid is reduced and thickened to the consistency of a glaze. Once the soy sauce and stock are added and brought to a boiling point, cook for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, while the fish pieces are cooking, until the sauce becomes reduced and thickened. Put the sauce into a bowl, pour the warm reserved fat over the sauce, and set aside to cool.

The tuna needs to stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before it is ready for cooking. Before you begin the cooking process, preheat the oven to 410°F. Remove the tuna from the fridge.

To make Yorkshire puddings, place a tablespoon of rendered fish fat or ghee in each hole of a 12-hole muffin tray and bake for 10–12 minutes. Pour the batter evenly into the holes in the tray after it has been removed from the oven. Cook for 25 minutes, until golden and puffy.

Pre-heat a grill pan with high heat or a charcoal grill with evenly burned embers while you wait.

The ground fennel seeds and black pepper should be combined in a bowl. Once the ghee is lightly brushed over both sides of the steak, the dry spices will not burn. To make sure the steak is evenly coated, sprinkle liberally with salt flakes and fennel and pepper.

In order to achieve an internal temperature of 111° F or 115°F, depending on what kind of rare tuna you like, place the tuna on the grill and cook for a total of 4 minutes, turning every minute. Remove and let rest for 2 to 3 minutes before eating.

It is important that the bordelaise sauce is warm, rather than boiling, when you are ready to serve it. Add the tomato, tarragon and the bone marrow to the bordelaise sauce, and add the tuna steak. Spoon over the bone marrow and serve immediately with the Yorkshire puddings.

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