The ancient practice of roasting small chunks of meat over an open fire can easily be updated for a tasty Father's Day grill.

By substituting fish for red meat and adding colorful vegetables to the mix, an ordinary grilled entree can be turned into tuna kebabs for an elegant, easy Father's Day meal.

A marinade of Asian flavors, basil and olive oil keeps the fish moist as it cooks. Only 15 minutes of marinating is necessary.

In addition to the tuna, add big cherry tomatoes, onion wedges and cucumber. While cucumbers are usually eaten raw, cooking them can bring out their sometime- overlooked citrus flavor. To further keep the lean tuna moist while grilling, cut the cucumber into crescents and nestle the fish between a cucumber crescent and a wedge of onion - a position that protects the tuna from excess heat.

Cucumbers are an ancient member of the gourd family. When shopping, pick a firm one with smooth, brightly-colored skin. Avoid those that have soft spots or are shriveled. Whole cucumbers may be stored in the refrigerator, unwashed and in a plastic bag, up to 10 days. Wash them thoroughly just before using.

Since these kebabs only get better when their flavors meld overnight, they can even be made ahead. They are good at room temperature. If you have leftovers, take the tuna off the skewers and serve it on a bed of chopped romaine lettuce for a chunky, grilled tuna salad.

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Tuna Kebabs

Makes 4 servings.

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  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 1 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. fresh tuna, cut in 12 chunks
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced
  • 8 large cherry tomatoes
  • 1 medium red onion, halved vertically and cut into crescents
  1. Preheat grill or broiler.
  2. In a glass or other non-reactive bowl, combine the lime juice, soy sauce, garlic, basil, pepper flakes, pepper and oil. Add the tuna chunks to the marinade, turning to coat them. Set aside to marinate 15 minutes at room temperature.
  3. Assemble the kebabs using four 10-inch metal or (well-soaked) bamboo skewers. Slip a cucumber piece almost to the bottom of a skewer. Add a tuna chunk, followed by an onion crescent, followed by a tomato. Repeat with more cucumber, fish, onion and tomato. Finish the kabob with a cucumber crescent turned toward the onion. Make 3 more skewers in the same way.
  4. Broil the kebabs 3 minutes. Turn and cook until the fish is firm to the touch and the vegetables browned, another 2 to 3 minutes. Do not overcook or the tuna will be dry. Serve either hot or at room temperature with hot steamed rice.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
241 calories
11 g. total fat (2 g. saturated fat)
7 g. carbohydrate
28 g. protein
2 g. dietary fiber
100 mg. sodium
Diabetic Exchanges: 3 Medium-Fat Meat