Tuna Au Poivre

Cynthia Stuart, one of my oldest and dearest friends, gave me this recipe. It’s pure Cynthia: low in calories and fat, deceptively easy to make, pretty to look at, and high in flavor and jammed with black pepper. It’s also great made with salmon.

Serves 6.

2½ to 3 pounds tuna steak, about 1 to 1¼ inches thick
¼ cup soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Juice of 1½ limes
½ teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
1 lime, thinly sliced, for garnish

1. Place the tuna steaks in a shallow glass or ceramic bowl and cover with the soy sauce, garlic, lime juice, and sugar. Cover and refrigerate for no more than 2 hours or at room temperature for 1 hour, turning occasionally. Discard the excess marinade.

2. Place a large nonstick skillet over high heat and, when it is hot, add the oil. Coat both sides of the tuna with the pepper, pressing in a bit, and place in the skillet. Add the tuna steaks, one at a time, allowing the pan to reheat for about 30 seconds between additions. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side for rare tuna or 5 minutes for well done. Transfer to individual plates and serve immediately. Garnish with the lime.

From The $50 Dinner Party: 26 Dinner Parties That Won’t Break Your Bank, Your Back, or Your Schedule (Simon & Schuster, 1998)