Citrus-Soy Tuna Steaks with Watermelon-Ginger Relish

Dsc01946 I have mentioned in the past how frustrating it is, living in the desert, that we don’t have a consistent selection of high-quality seasonal produce to choose from.  You can pretty much forget about the whole "locally grown" concept, since there is not exactly an overabundance of farms in the Las Vegas vicinity.  Sometimes a girl just wants a good old-fashioned roadside farm stand, like we had in both New Jersey and Texas, where I grew up (come to think of it, that’s probably about all these two states have in common).  Nothing beats pulling up to one of these mom-and-pop establishments, without any preconceived notion of what you are going to buy, and bringing home a bushel of whatever was picked just a few hours earlier. 

That being said, when I came across a prominently displayed stack of those bowling-ball sized personal seedless watermelons at the grocery store, you can bet that I added a few to my cart.  Watermelon is one of those foods, like green grapes and really juicy cold apples, which I forget how much I like if I don’t eat it for awhile.  Then I usually end up eating it every day for the next month.  When I came home and started putting the groceries away, I realized that I had bought a lot of watermelon, so I needed to get creative in the kitchen.  Part of it I left for an after-dinner sweet (trying to cut back on the Golden Spoon frozen yogurt), some of it I’ll use this weekend to whip up some watermelon-lime margaritas, and with the rest, I decided to make an Asian-inspired salsa to top the tuna steaks that I’d found at Trader Joe’s.  The result was a light and healthy dinner with some great textures and flavors.  Here are a few tips for preparing this refreshing relish-topped tuna:

  • Sriracha is a hot chile sauce, and it can be found in the Asian foods section of your grocery store (Huy Fong is a common brand).  If you don’t have any on hand, you can either omit it or substitute 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes.
  • If multi-colored watermelons are available in your area, then I am very jealous!  The salsa looks even better with a combination of red, yellow, and orange watermelon.
  • This recipe will work equally well with any firm-textured fish, such as mahi-mahi, halibut, swordfish, or Chilean sea bass.
  • Sprinkle the dish with toasted sesame seeds for an added nutty flavor and an attractive presentation.
  • The salsa will keep for an extra day or two, tightly covered and refrigerated, and it is delicious enough to eat on its own.

Citrus-Soy Tuna Steaks with Watermelon-Ginger Relish

Serves 4


Tuna and MarinadeDsc01936_5

1 cup orange juice

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup chopped scallions

3 tablespoons grated peeled fresh ginger

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon Sriracha

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 (6-8 ounce) tuna steaks, about 3/4 inch thick


3 cups diced seeded watermelon

3 tablespoons sliced scallions

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

2 teaspoons grated, peeled fresh ginger

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon dark sesame oil

Prepare tuna:  Combine the first 8 ingredients (through garlic) in a large zip-top plastic bag.  Add the tuna steaks to the bag and seal.  Marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours, turning occasionally.

Prepare the relish:  Combine the watermelon with the next 8 ingredients (through sesame oil) in a large bowl.  Cover and chill.

Remove the tuna steaks from the bag and discard the marinade.  Place the fish on a grill rack or grill pan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat.  Cook for 3 minutes on each side for medium-rare or until desired degree of doneness.  Serve topped with the relish. 


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