Dinner Tonight: Grilled Tuna with Red Tomatillo Sauce Recipe

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Dinner Tonight: Grilled Tuna with Red Tomatillo Sauce Recipe

I'm a sucker for tomatillos, and couldn't help but try out this recipe from Bobby Flay's Mesa Cookbook. My only worry was that the sauce would be a little too out of control. The red color comes from the chile powder.

I worried the sauce wouldn't so much harmonize with the tuna as destroy it. Luckily the sauce's bite is balanced both by those roasted tomatilos and a bit of honey. It actually plays very nicely.

And it really couldn't be much simpler. The tomatillos, onion, and garlic cloves are roasted and then blended with the rest of the sauce ingredients. Then all you have to do is grill the tuna steaks. Be sure not to overcook them. Much like regular steaks, it seems like a crime to cook them past medium rare.

  • Yield:4 people
  • Active time: 30 minutes
  • Total time:45 minutes


  • 8 tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ habanero, stemmed, seeded, and minced
  • 2 tablespoons New Mexico red chile powder
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
  • 4 eight-ounce tuna steaks (about 1-inch thick)


  1. 1.

    Preheat the oven to 400°F. Combine the tomatillos, onion, and garlic on a baking sheet and toss with three tablespoons of the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer baking sheet to the oven. Cook until the tomatillos are slightly charred, turning occasionally, 25 to 30 minutes.

  2. 2.

    When done, transfer all the ingredients from the baking sheet to a food processor along with the habanero, chile powder, vinegar, honey, cilantro, and mint. Blend until smooth, seasoning to taste with salt.

  3. 3.

    Meanwhile, preheat a grill or broiler to high heat. Brush both sides of the tuna steaks with the remaining oil and also season with salt and pepper. Place on the grill. Cook until well browned on one side, two to three minutes. Flip the tuna steaks and cook until browned on the other side, about two more minutes. The tuna should still be medium-rare in the center.

  4. 4.

    Spoon some of the sauce into the center of four plates, top each with a tuna steak.