Tuna Steak Recipe with Herb Sauce

A buttery herb sauce gives tuna plenty of zest

Top this tuna steak recipe with an easy herb sauce, and you'll have a fancy main dish worthy of the best seafood restaurant.  You'll be surprised by how fast and simple it is to make at home!

You start by pan roasting the tuna steaks, an easy, foolproof method that ensures they'll be nicely browned on the outside but still juicy and flavorful inside.  If you've ever cooked tuna steaks until they turned dry and tough, as I have, you'll especially appreciate this cooking method.

If you love your tuna steaks somewhat rare in the middle, pan roasting works well for that - remove them from the oven after just a few minutes.  If you prefer your tuna thoroughly cooked, as I do, just keep it in the oven a little longer. 

The mouth-watering sauce, made with white wine, butter, and fresh herbs, is so easy that it practically makes itself.  This is one of my favorite recipes for when I have only half an hour to cook dinner - truly great fast food!

Tuna steak recipe with herb sauce

Serves 4 as main course.

  • 4 tuna steaks, about 6 ounces each
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • Salt and pepper

This tuna steak recipe works equally well with other thick fish steaks - halibut, salmon, swordfish.

For herb sauce:

  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs such as dill, parsley, thyme, basil, marjoram - your choice!
  • 2 shallots, chopped finely
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Pan roast the tuna steaks 

1.  Turn on your oven to 400° F to preheat.  Bring the tuna steaks to room temperature by removing them from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking.  Pat dry with paper towels before cooking, and season with pepper and a little salt.

2.  Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over high heat until it's about to smoke.  Lay the steaks in the pan with a least an inch between each other and the sides of the skillet.  If they don't fit, cook them in 2 batches.

3.  Cook the steaks about 3 minutes on each side.   They will form a nice brown crust on the outside, but still be raw on the inside.

4.  Using oven mitts, carefully put the skillet into the hot oven to continue cooking.  To cook until rare, remove after 4-5 minutes and test with a fork to see if they're how you like them.  They'll continue "cooking" for a couple more minutes, so err on the side of rareness.  If you like them cooked through, remove and check after 7-8 minutes.  The thickness of the tuna steaks will greatly influenced the required cooking time.

5.  Once the tuna steaks are at your preferred degree of doneness, remove them from the skillet and put them on a serving platter.

If you need more details about this process, see our pan roasting instructions.

Make the herb sauce

1.  Deglaze the skillet over low heat by adding the wine and stirring to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom.  Add the shallots.  Let simmer, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes until the amount of wine is reduced by half and the shallots are soft.

2.  Add the butter, tablespoon at a time, and stirring to incorporate with the wine.  Remove from the heat.

3.  Stir in the 1/4 cup herbs and lemon juice. 

To serve, pour the sauce over the tuna and sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons herbs on top.

Serving suggestions

Simple steamed veggies such as asparagus, green peas, slices of sweet potato, and green beans make a perfect pairing with this tuna steak recipe and the herb butter sauce.  The herb sauce will also flavor the vegetables, which you can steam while the tuna is cooking. 


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