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How do you feel about rare tuna?

I've never been brave enough to eat sushi or raw tuna - I thought it would taste nasty and have a strange texture. So when we went to lunch today I ordered a grilled tuna salad, and since it didn't say 'seared' and I asked the waiter for 'medium', I thought the tuna would be cooked to a light pink in the center. I over-estimated... and when I cut into the delicious-smelling tuna steak, it was redraw in the center and only pink around the very edges. Instead of chickening out and sending it back for more cooking, I dove in and tried a bite from the edge, pinky bit. And it was delicious! So I decided that I was going to eat it. And it wasn't anything like I expected - I loved it... especially with a kalmata olive on the fork or a tiny dab of spicy mustard for contrast. Yum! DH tried it too, and he also really liked it, so we may be converts!

Now I know that it's not going to kill me to eat 'raw fish', I'm going to try a piece of sushi at my next opportunity. I've only ever had sushi-for-wimps (made with cooked tunasalad instead of anthing raw) - I thought I wouldn't like that either because I hate seaweed and rice, but it doesn't really taste like either of them. I loved the cooked sushi and used to buy it regularly in Australia, but I haven't seen it sold in the US. Now I'll be brave and try the real thing - I wonder if I'll like that too? :)

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  1. Bravo, Kajikit! If it's not rare, you may as well eat canned! ;)

    I did a fish-cooking demo recently, using tuna....Dubious tasters looked at it, asked if it was cooked enough, tried it, and then said, "I never thought I liked tuna!" It's amazing how many people like fish when it's cooked to bring out its best flavor.

    1. Oh I loved seared tuna sandwiches with pickled ginger mayo. But I love raw fish in many ways.

      1. I was pleasantly surprised also, but I must caution that inferior fish is not going to love the seared treatment. I had it the first time in a place I should have known better (small Idaho ski resort). The second time I had it in a decent resto and I loved it. The texture I thought was going to put me off was actually enjoyable. Congrats and enjoy your new experiences.

        1 Reply
        1. re: torty

          This was at a nice restaurant... one reason I decided to try it was because I've liked everything I've had there! It's one of my times for trying new foods...

        2. i love tuna raw, rare, and cooked through..... all have their place in different applications.
          the fattier the better too.

          go to a sushi bar, and tell the chef u want to explore all his various tuna's u will be amazed at the difference in textures and tastes.

          i also like to cook it through w/ capers adn marsala wine... delicious hot, or let it cool and make your tuna salad with tuna you cooked yourself instead of opening a can.

          I saw a beautiful braised tuna dish on TV the other day that i can't wait to try


          3 Replies
          1. re: thew

            I'm a huge fan of seared tuna. I prefer it medium rare so that it is reddish in the center, and pink on the edges, what you originally sent back. You'll get used to the taste and the texture. One nice thing is that a little goes a long way, and if you have it sliced, you will find you prefer that to a big hunk o'tuna.

            1. re: brendastarlet

              Oh no, I didn't send it back... I THOUGHT about asking them to cook it more, but I decided to try eating it first. And then I didn't need to return it because I liked it. :)

            2. re: thew

              My sushi guy does a tuna tasting. He places 4 different types/grades of tuna and has you eat from one end to the other to see/taste the differences. I did this long ago and it got me hooked on toro! Hmmmm...thinking it's time for a sushi run.

            3. Thats the only way to eat tuna. If you have had it overcooked you know how unpleasant an experience that can be. Ceviche can also pass the test.

              2 Replies
              1. re: mattyboy

                Personally, I think lime juice ruins raw tuna ceviche in 20 minutes. I bring wasabi wherever I go, and soy is universally available, except in parts of Central America. To the poster's point; I think "rare" tuna is way overcooked. I think Kajikit has eyes wide open to good experiences, and a good attitude. Tuna sashimi rocks!

                1. re: Veggo

                  Sounds like YOU, kajikit, are on your way to new culinary heights! I applaud you. Though I'll eat well prepared fish of almost any kind, whether broiled, baked, steamed, fried, etc., I always come back to my method of preference, and "raw" isn't really a method at all. It's all about freshness and presentation. It cannot be beat!

              2. Rare tuna, or more appropriately, Sashimi is the only way to savor the soft, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness of this fish. It rivals Salmon Tartar in my mouth.

                Having said that, the best tuna sandwich I ever had was a piece of grilled tuna, rare, with wasabi mayo on homemade light rye. Oh my goodness. Decadence at it's height.

                1. I'm trying desperately to train my taste buds to "like" fish. Tuna was my first winner. I love rare tuna (or raw even). There is nothing remotely fishy about it.

                  I've always hated salmon... as I always found it to be "fishy". However, smoked or rare fresh salmon is lovely. I also have enjoyed mahi mahi, snapper, trout, etc. Turns out I like fresh fish. I was just too often served yucky fish as a child.

                  Oh, and I don't care for nori... the seaweed wrap on sushi.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: lynnlato

                    Admittingly, I am a salmon snob. I use to hate salmon as well, then I moved to Seattle and learned to eat the wonderfully fresh Pacific NW salmon varieties and wow, did it make a difference. I try never to eat farmed salmon anymore, it really does taste fishy.

                  2. It won't be long now before all tuna is rare.

                    Sorry - I couldn't resist.

                    I do love tuna tataki. Alton Brown's technique of cooking it on a tubular charcoal starter works perfectly. Also tuna sashimi (especially toro - the fatty belly - like buttah!).

                    1. Be careful going down this path. I tried seared tuna and loved it. It was my gateway drug into sushi. After trying raw tuna for the first time, I thought about it ~all day~ the next day. I had to stop at my fishmonger on the way home and picked up some sashimi grade tuna and ate a solid block of it for dinner. My grocery bill was not amused. But so tasty.

                      1. Tuna is ruined when cooked beyong medium-rare.

                        A strong, strong word of caution, however: DO NOT try your first real sushi experience at anything less than an excellent sushi restaurant. There's a lot of bad sushi out there these days, and raw fish is nothing to be trifled with.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: uptown jimmy

                          i have to disagree with the sentiment about ruined tuna

                          while i adore it raw, and rare, there are wonderful Mediterranean applications that cook the tuna through and taste wonderful.

                          1. re: uptown jimmy

                            How one dines on tuna depends on the grade of tuna and the
                            kind of tuna it is. Bluefin is over fished so no, and skipjack is the kind
                            for salads and marinated dishes. Albacore is great in oil and spring
                            water for building soups and sauces. Tombo, the red not the white,
                            is delicious raw and up.
                            Yellowfin and big eye are fantastic raw, rare, ceviche/crudo, and seared.
                            But they must be number 1 or number 2 grades. There is a grill grade
                            which works well for sandwiches, grill, marinaded, poached for salads
                            and for French/Mediterranean style as an ingredient rather than entree.
                            Much of the tuna sold today for a lot of places comes in what is called
                            "saku block", which is a 10 ounce or so frozen at sea cut of the loin.
                            Tuna in this form must be frozen 74 hours below 0 degrees centegrade.
                            This kills any and all histamines that would create an allergic reaction
                            in those prone to such things.
                            If you are dining out in a sushi restaurant then look at the meat, smell it,
                            ask for a small sample. They will allow this if it is good tuna. If it is not
                            then you will get a run around. The nose knows.

                          2. good quality tuna fillets, marinated in light soy, flash seared in a pan with just a drop or two or sesame oil, served on wilted Asian greens with wasabi mayo is a once-a-week staple at our place...

                            The easiest thing in the world to cook.

                            1. This inspires me to try raw or rare tuna. Here's the thing. I don't any fish, and I many any. Not shrimp, not salmon, not even canned tuna. I really want to learn to enjoy fish since it is so healthy. Being that I am not a fish eater, is this something that may break me in the right way?

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Anita Drink


                                I HATE fish (blame it on childhood trauma involving feast of the seven fishes) and do not eat meat. I do however, adore Seared and Raw Tuna (most varieties). My husband eats all sorts of FISHY things and was shocked when I tasted tuna sashimi and became hooked. It is delicious-to me it tastes like red meat, not fish at all. It has to be sliced very thin, even when we grill a tuna steak at home, I cannot eat it unless it is thinly sliced and I put a little on my plate at a time.

                                I like to pepper and sear ahi, slice it thin and serve it atop a salad made from soba, cucumbers, carrots, red onions or radish marinated in a mixture of ginger, soy and rice vinegar, with wasabi on the side. Lovely eats. UH oh-sushi tonight for sure.

                                1. re: Densible

                                  I too am a convert ( addict) ..the tuna roll at Perry Street in NYC, tuna roll at Calypso Grille in Grand Cayman, sashimi at Salts in Boston , I dream of these things...And I turned my nose up for nearly 45 YEARS !!!! What a dope ...this also may be the topic of another thread but there are some foods that I think I like or like more because they are a conduit for a condiment ( tuna and wasabi, fried clams and tartar sauce, shrimp and really spicy cocktail sauce ) weird Congrats on graduating Tuna U....the sky's the limit now

                              2. I never liked tuna fish, so I thought I didn't like tuna. I tried sushi and never looked back. Rare tuna is my favorite thing ever, now.

                                I'm 6 months pregnant and miss my raw tuna more than I miss booze =( I told my girlfriend to meet me at the hospital with a platter of sashimi and a bottle of zinfindel!

                                1. I'm glad that you got to try it. Personally, I don't enjoy tuna that's cooked past medium rare, including those expensive fancy jarred tuna in olive oil. It's jst too dry. If you don't like tuna sushi on the first try, try it a couple of other times. My sister hated raw fish sushi the first time. By her third, she loved it.

                                  1. Growing up in Minnesota, sushi was not to be found. Upon moving to CA, I had to at least give sushi a try. The concept of eating raw fish to me was difficult. But I did try raw tuna, with hesitation, and it was not immediate love, but quickly grew on me. I will now eat many types of raw fish, and seared tuna is great too! I probably should have started with that. Some sushi is a bit much for me. I tried one with fried salmon skin, and did not like that at all.

                                    1. I like tuna with sashimi, sushi, and seared rare. I do not eat a lot of canned tuna, unless packed in oil, and then not often, However, if I could regularly pick up the Tuna Guys canned spanish yellowfin, I would eat it more often.

                                      1. Best tuna sashimi I've had: fishing for marlin in the Indian Ocean off of the Kenyan coast. Catch yellowfin, use for bait. Shark hits bait. Reel in the half left behind, cut off jagged edges, thinly slice, put out wasabi and shoyu mix...delicious!

                                        1. Even better than regular tuna, try a piece of "oh toro" (fatty tuna) if your sushi place has it. It is by far my favorite peice of sushi. Also fwiw, I don't like cooked salmon, but I love it raw. While raw tuna was my first stepping stone into the world of sushi, I have been able to discover other things I love even more.

                                          1. you can't really take a temperature on tuna. it's either raw or cooked. unlike beef it won't really get to be an overall light pink, or "medium". it will cook from the outside in going from red to white. the longer you cook it, the deeper the cooked part gets. unless cooked well done, there will always be some kind of raw center