Tuna is ideal for marinating. A half-hour soak infuses the fish with a raft of salty-sour-sweet flavors, and then a few minutes on the grill seals the deal.
Servings: Serves 4
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic , finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced or grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh tuna fillets (1-inch thick)
  • 2 small cucumbers , peeled
  • 1 carrot , peeled and sliced very thin or grated (3/4 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped red jalapeno chile pepper or 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 scallion , finely chopped (1/4 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 head green leaf lettuce , sliced into fine ribbons 1/4-inch thick (6 cups)
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed Thai or regular basil leaves
  • Directions
    In a medium bowl, combine the soy sauce, lime juice, olive oil, garlic, ginger and brown sugar (makes 1 1/2 cups). Stir well. Pour half the mixture into a shallow dish large enough to fit the fish. Add the fish and marinate at room temperature 30 minutes or in the refrigerator 45 minutes. If refrigerating, remove the fish from the refrigerator 15 minutes before grilling.

    Meanwhile, cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds. Cut the cucumbers into 1/4-inch-thick slices crosswise (makes about 2 cups). Add the cucumbers, carrot, chile pepper, scallion and sesame seeds to the remaining marinade, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

    Remove the fish to paper towels and discard the marinade in the dish. Pat the excess marinade from the tuna. With a pastry or barbecue brush, brush the fish with additional olive oil.

    On an outdoor grill or a grill pan over high heat, lightly brush the grates with olive oil (do not place the fish on the grill until the flames have subsided). Grill the fish 3 to 5 minutes on both sides for medium rare or 6 to 8 minutes for medium well. When slightly cooled, cut into thick slices. Meanwhile, mix the lettuce and herbs with the chilled marinade and transfer to a platter. Place the fish on top, and drizzle additional marinade over the fish. Serve immediately.

    Recommended variations: For beef, marinate 1 1/2 pounds of filet 1 to 2 hours. Grill 12 to 14 minutes, turning often, for medium rare. For tofu, cut 1 pound of tofu into 1/2-inch-thick slices and marinate for 1 hour. Pat dry, brush with oil, and grill 2 minutes per side. For eggplant, cut 1 large eggplant into 1/2-inch-thick slices and marinate for 1 hour. Pat dry, brush with oil, and grill 2 minutes per side.


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