Dad or no dad, on Father's Day, let your favorite guy sink his teeth into something meaty. No, not a beefy steak. Make it a tuna steak.

Most men find fresh tuna hefty enough to satisfy their red meat craving, especially when you grill it like a steak. With tuna, this is grilling-for-dummies easy. What's more, when you make this switch, you give the gift of healthy omega-3 fats that help reduce blood cholesterol levels rather than increase them by serving those steaks that are so high in saturated fats.

However, enjoyment counts most, so let's focus on flavor. My favorite way to grill tuna is in kebabs, because their chunks allow more of the fish to be lavished with a flavorful marinade that makes it taste even better. Also, cutting the tuna into chunks allows it to cook more quickly than as a large steak. Kebab-size pieces prevent this lean fish from drying out before it is completely cooked on the inside.

My favorite tuna marinade skips soy sauce, which seems to make all marinades taste pretty much the same. And who needs that extra sodium, anyway. I prefer an intensely flavored rub, a blend of fresh ginger and jalapeno with a touch of lime juice and just enough oil to bind the flavors, coat the tuna and help keep the fish moist on the grill.

Flavor benefits aside, marinating any animal protein before grilling it is important. We do not know exactly why, but using a marinade reduces the amount of carcinogens that form when animal meats are cooked at very high temperatures, such as grilling. Once you have put the meat on the grill, take care to avoid the smoke and flames that often occur, for they can deposit the carcinogens that have formed back onto the cooking food.

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With the tuna, I serve a tropical salsa made with tomatoes, mango, red onion and cilantro. Then, while the fire is still hot, I grill skewers of pineapple chunks, turning them until they are lightly browned on each side. Served warm, with or without a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt or coconut sorbet, they are the perfect finish to this tropical-accented Father's Day cook-out.

Grilled Ginger Tuna

Yield: Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. fresh tuna, boneless and skinless
  • 1 tsp. canola oil
  • 1 tsp. grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 small jalapeno chile, seeded and minced or 1/4 tsp. dried red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice

Directions

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  1. Prepare a barbecue grill to medium-high or preheat the broiler to high.
  2. Cut the tuna into 16 equally-sized cubes and place them in a bowl. Add the canola oil and toss fish to coat. Add the ginger, jalapeno or chili flakes, salt, a few grinds of pepper and lime juice. Toss and mix well. Cover and refrigerate 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. To grill, divide the tuna cubes evenly among 4 skewers. Grill for 4 to 5 minutes, turning frequently, using tongs. The fish is done when it is just cooked through and no longer pink on the inside.
  4. To broil, arrange the marinated fish in a shallow pan so the pieces do not touch. Place the fish 4 inches below the broiler for 3 minutes. Using tongs, turn each cube. Broil for 1 to 2 more minutes, until the fish is just cooked through and no longer pink on the inside.
  5. Serve immediately, with a fruit or hispanic-style salsa.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
134 calories
2 g. total fat
<1 g. saturated fat
0 g. carbohydrate
27 g. protein
0 g. dietary fiber
187 mg. sodium


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