Pan Seared Tuna Steaks on Spinach a la Baja

This image courtesy of Christopher Marchetti

Fresh tuna steaks are so good that they should only be subtly enhanced. This tease with orange and garlic is just perfect. Most people agree that tuna should be cooked only to the rare to medium stage to preserve the most, fresh flavor. For this dish to be at its best, the tuna must be cut about an inch thick, no less. Wilt the fresh spinach in the same pan.

2 servings

Cooking Time6 min

Cooking Methodsauteeing



Total Timeunder 30 minutes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free



  • 1 orange
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon crushed caribe chile
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or oil spray (optional)
  • 2 fresh tuna steaks (5 to 6 ounces each), cut 1 inch thick
  • 1 10-ounce package fresh spinach, rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar


  1. Using a zester or a grater on the fine setting, zest the very outside (orange part only) of the orange. Squeeze the juice.

  2. In a shallow, nonreactive bowl, combine the orange zest, juice, garlic, and caribe chile. Add the tuna and press into the liquid; turn the tuna and press the other side into the marinade. Let stand at room temperature at least 10 minutes and up to 2 hours.

  3. About 10 minutes before serving time, heat a heavy, well-seasoned skillet until hot over medium-high heat (see Notes). Remove the tuna from the marinade (reserve marinade) and cook for 4 minutes, then turn and cook for about 3 minutes. Keep warm.

  4. Add the spinach to the skillet, drizzle with the reserved marinade, and cover. Steam for 3 to 5 minutes, until the spinach is just wilted. Add the vinegar and toss. Arrange on warm serving plates and top with the tuna.

  5. Water sprinkles should dance on the surface when it is hot enough. If you do not have a well-seasoned skillet, add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to a skillet.


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