It doesn't get much better than eating fresh, deep sea, bluewater fish! And as far Galveston fishing charters go, Yellowfin Tuna is a consistent #1 in terms of taste, texture, and variety in the kitchen.
In this post, we focus on what happens after Texas Tuna fishing charters- Cooking the Catch! As more Americans rediscover the joys of seafood during quarantine, we hope this post gets you out supporting your local fish market, commercial fishermen, and maybe even your local fishing guides.
We headed out to the Nansen Oil Rig with Captain Lee Crisler, mates Chris and Benny, and Willy and Ricky of Fishing Cartel on one of their signature tuna fishing trips from Galveston TX. We all came back with tons of Yellowfin Tuna and are excited to share how we chowed down.
We share our top recipes in order from same-day catch and cooks using raw Tuna, to cooked Tuna meals. We finish off with a fantastic Tuna Burger that's even great using frozen Tuna.
To set the table (ha!), you can catch up on the trip by watching the video below, and be sure to check out our Tuna Trip Recap blog post here.
1. Poke Bowl (Difficulty: Easy | Preparation Time: 15 minutes)
While the Poke Bowl's rise to popularity is recent, the dish established itself as a staple of Hawaiian diets beginning in the 1970's. Only recently, around 2012, did Poke Bowls gain mainstream attention as "the next generation of sushi".
Poke is a Hawaiian dish of fresh, raw, deboned, skinned, fish with traditional condiments like seaweed, sea salt, lime, and other ingredients found throughout the Aloha State.
Modern variations incorporate Japanese sushi ingredients like rice, sesame seeds, wasabi, ginger, and soy sauce. Many of the new Poke Bowl restaurants like Pokeworks include additional ingredients like Avocado, Jalapeños, Cucumber, Scallions, Onions, and more.
For our homemade Poke Bowl, we cherrypicked our favorite ingredients from Hawaiian, Japanese, and other variations and threw 'em in a bowl. See the video above for a super quick and easy fresh Tuna recipe to reference after your next Tuna fishing trip!
2. Tuna Tataki (Difficulty: Moderate | Preparation Time: 20 minutes)
Tuna Tataki is a Japanese method of delicately cooking meat and fish on the outside while retaining a deep red to pink (raw to medium-rare) center. Feel free to cook as lightly or fully as you'd like, and see below for instructions:
Glaze a pan in olive oil and raise to medium-high heat. As the oil is heating, take your Tuna steaks and season each side generously with salt, pepper, and other seasonings. We added garlic powder and red chili flake for a Mediterranean flavor, but you can also swap those out with ginger paste and black and white sesame seeds for a little Asian twist.
When your oil is hot, place your Tuna in the pan- you should hear a nice sizzle. Flip the Tuna after searing on each side for ~30 seconds, depending on your temperature preference. Once all sides have a nice sear on them, remove from heat and place onto a towel-lined plate. Cut along the grain for clean Tuna slices and enjoy!
3. Blackened Tuna Tacos with Captain Lee Crisler (Difficulty: Easy | Preparation Time: 15 minutes)
Start by slicing your Tuna steaks into long, thin slices. Transfer your Tuna slices into a mixing bowl and add a chili oil coat. This provides some nice spice and keeps the Tuna from sticking to the pan.
Next, add Blackening seasonings like Montreal, steak, or Tony Chachere's Famous Creole Seasoning. Add salt and pepper as well.
In a cast iron skillet or pan of choice, heat a tablespoon or two of light flavored oil, like canola oil or virgin olive oil. Once hot, add Tuna strips, seared one minute per side or less.
Remove from heat onto a paper towel lined plate, heat up some tortillas, slice up your toppings like jalapeño, onions, avocado, and tomatoes, and you can even grill some veggies.
Assemble your taco and bite in!
4. Tuna Burger (Difficulty: Hard | Preparation Time: 1 Hour 30 minutes)
While there's no better feeling than taking your charter fishing catch home to prepare fresh, you're bound to be left with more for the freezer after Texas Tuna fishing. If frozen quickly and correctly, Yellowfin Tuna can be de-thawed and prepared using the methods above.
That being said, we wanted to think of delicious ways to enjoy our hard-earned catch while cooking it thoroughly after freezing. Enter the Tuna Burger...
De-thaw your frozen Tuna portions by placing them in the fridge overnight. For our Tuna Burger, we took the "everything but the kitchen sink" approach. Feel free to use any vegetables you have in the fridge, but we went with onions, celery, mushrooms, bell peppers, and jalapeños. Be sure to mince or finely dice and throw in a big bowl that you can mix in with your hands.
Next, take your Tuna and dice it finely into little cubes. You'll be mashing these cubes along with other ingredients into patties, so the finer you slice your Tuna, the better. Toss the Tuna in the bowl with your veggies.
To bring it all together, add a few sticky binding agents. Add at least 1 egg, mayo, and a quarter cup of bread crumbs.
Finally, add your seasonings. Salt and pepper are a must, and we also tossed in a spoonful of mustard to add spice, a few dashes of soy sauce, and a seasoning blend of onion, garlic, and cayenne. Again, this is the "everything but the kitchen sink", so throw what you know!
Using your hands or a spatula, mix everything together until you have a homogenous mixture of ingredients.
Line a sheet pan with paper foil or plastic wrap and roll out burger-sized patties in your hands. Be sure to eyeball the size of these patties to your buns. If our mixture isn't sticking well at this stage, add another egg and a quarter cup of bread crumbs.
Place your patties in the fridge for an hour. After an hour, heat your grill or stovetop grill pan, coat with olive oil over medium-high heat, and cook your burger as you would any other burger. Be sure not to add too much oil so you don't end up with a fried Tuna burger!
We chose 4-5 minutes per side for a thoroughly cooked but moist Tuna burger. Remove from heat when done and drain on a paper towel lined plate.
In the same pan or using a toaster, brown your buns, add garnishes like Avocado, Lettuce, slaw, and hot sauce and you're all set! This burger is tough to beat- enjoy!
We hope you enjoyed our top recipes for Texas Yellowfin Tuna. Be sure to tag @captainexperiences on Facebook or Instagram with your own Catch & Cook shots!