Tuna Steaks with Jalapeño-Cumin Butter

Dec 31, 2013

Credit Danny Hope/flickr creative commons

From Cree LeFavour's Fish: 54 Seafood Feasts: Toast some seeds in a cast-iron pan for a minute or two, mix with butter and shallots, and you're ready to go. The beauty of this dish, which has some kick, is that a small amount of butter is used as a flavoring agent. (Faith says you could also use it on beef steak or chicken.)

Serves four

¼ cup peanut or vegetable oil
Four 6-ounce yellowfin tuna steaks, about 1 inch thick
2 teaspoons kosher salt (not table salt)
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
Jalapeño-cumin butter (see recipe below)
4 lime wedges


  1. Prepare the Jalapeño-cumin butter in advance (see below).
  2. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees. Use a dab of oil to rub the steaks all over and liberally salt both sides. Sprinkle one side of each steak with cumin seeds.
  3. Heat one large cast-iron pan over high heat. Let the pan get very hot before adding the oil. Once you do add the oil, wait for it to shimmer before you put the tuna steaks in the pan, cumin-side up. Cook 3–4 minutes and turn. Cook the cumin side for only one minute. Transfer to a plate and place 1 tablespoon of the jalapeño-cumin butter on each steak before resting it for 3 minutes in the 175 degree warming oven. Finish with a squeeze of lime.

4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 shallot, chopped
2 tablespoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground
1 jalapeño with seeds, minced (3 tablespoons)

  1. Heat a dry cast-iron skillet over medium heat until it's hot. Add the coriander and cumin seeds and stand there watching them until they give off an aroma; they're almost done. As soon as they darken, remove from the heat. When they cool, buzz them in a coffee grinder.
  2. In a small bowl, mash together the butter, shallot, the toasted seeds, and jalapeno. Set aside.

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  • Chris Prosperi is a senior contributor to the show and chef/owner of Metro Bis in Simsbury, CT.
  • Cree LeFavour is the author of Fish: 54 Seafood Feasts.