Tuna Steaks with Zucchini Butter
That moment of awe after you catch your first ever tuna.
Last week, I stepped out of my comfort zone, shook hands with a few strangers, and nervously hopped on board a small commercial fishing boat. We crossed the Columbia River Bar (which will go down as one of the most terrifying/exhilarating experiences I’ve ever had) and eventually found ourselves in calmer water, 50 miles off shore. It was the first time I’ve been on a boat in the ocean and couldn’t see land. I put myself in this position because in getting ready for the Local Thirty, I wanted to learn first hand how one of my favorite seafood items ends up on my table. I learned, the process alright and my right arm is more sore than ever from reeling in these powerful fish. But what hit me the most was the folks on the boat with me. These guys are pros and risk their lives everyday and push through long hours of hard work, intense focus and unpredictable conditions to bring ethical food from our local waters to people’s plates. They welcomed me with open arms, put a rod in my hand and let me experience one of the most thrilling moments of my life–reeling in my dinner with folks who started off as strangers and quickly became a safety net, folks to joke with, and share a well-earned meal with. They got me back to land safely (10 hours later) and we got to kick back with a few cold beers and a delicious tuna dinner.
This is the first official week of the Local Thirty experiment and I’m beyond grateful that this challenge has pushed me out of my comfort zone and into memorable experiences with new friends, new landscapes, and damn good food. This journey really started out about finding local ingredients, but I’m learning it’s about the people too. I can’t wait to shake hands with a ll the new folks September will bring my way. Thank you to the wonderful crew at Day Boat Tuna for getting this farm girl out of the dirt and into crazy waters. Thank you Michael and David from Modoc Stories for documenting this moment. And dad, I hope this tuna makes you proud!
Tuna Steaks with Zucchini Butter
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes Serves: 4Zucchini Butter
- 2 pounds zucchini or assorted summer squash-- (0 miles)
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter--(81 miles)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced--(0 miles)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme--(0 miles)
- salt to taste--(157 miles)
- 4 (5-6 ounce) Tuna steaks about 1 inch thick--(175 miles)
- salt and pepper--(157 miles)
- Unsalted Butter--(81 miles)
- Flakey sea salt for serving--(157 miles)
- Coarsely grate the zucchini with a box grater or with the grating attachment on your food processor.
- Ring out most of the liquid from the zucchini with a dish towel.
- In a medium sized deep skillet over medium-high heat add the butter. Once the butter is starting to melt add the garlic, thyme, and grated zucchini. Cook, stirring often, until the zucchini reaches a spreadable consistency, about 15-18 minutes. The mixture will still have plenty of texture but will be more "jam like" after cooking. If you scorch the bottom of the mixture turn the flame down but don't stress! Just stir those crispy burnt bits into the butter for added flavor! If need be add a touch of water or white wine to deglaze the pan. The zucchini will hold its bright green color and slowly caramelize into a nice vegetable jam.
- Pat the tuna steaks dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the tuna until a dark, golden brown crust forms, about 3 minutes. Flip the tuna and cook for about 2 minutes longer or just until the edges are crisp but the center is still pink.
Notes*Use this recipe as a guide. Adjust measurements and ingredients as necessary.