Tuna steaks stand up to grilling

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Grilling gives fish great flavor without the need for lots of added cooking fat. This method for cooking seafood can be stressful if you don't get the technique right, though.

The problem is that most fish has delicate flesh that tends to stick to the grates and fall apart when you try to flip it.

Success comes with choosing the right fish and knowing how to prepare and maintain your grill.

The easiest fish to grill are the firm varieties that are available in steak form, such as tuna, swordfish and halibut. Fish steaks that are an inch or more thick stand up best. Other good options include mahi-mahi, salmon and catfish.

Keeping the grill grates clean will help minimize sticking. It is important to oil the grates well and cook over high heat.

For the oiling, do it just before putting the fish onto the grill. Avoid applying cooking spray directly to the grill, because it can cause a dangerous flare-up.

This grilled tuna with cilantro-lime marinade is pleasantly tangy and spicy, which blends well with the smoky flavors of the grill.

Tuna is easy to grill and can stand up to an acidic marinade such as this one without a change in texture.

Tuna is delicious, but health officials are concerned about mercury levels found in this fish and recommend eating it no more than two or three times a month.

Serve this dish with a side of black beans and rice seasoned with grilled onion and a pinch of cinnamon along with a mixed salad topped with slices of orange or grapefruit.

GRILLED TUNA WITH CILANTRO-LIME MARINADE

Start to finish: 15 minutes, plus at least 15 minutes for marinating

Servings: 4

1/4 cup lime juice (about 2 limes)

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon chili powder

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

4 tuna steaks (about 4 ounces each)

In a shallow bowl or pie plate, combine the lime juice, cilantro, mustard, chili powder, oil, salt and pepper. Stir well. Add the tuna steaks, turning to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or up to 8 hours.

Heat a gas grill to high or prepare a charcoal fire. Oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the grill rack. Grill the tuna steaks until browned on both sides and opaque at the center, about 5 minutes per side.

NUTRITION per serving: 202 calories; 74 calories from fat; 8 grams fat (2 grams saturated; 0 grams trans fats); 43 milligrams cholesterol; 4 grams carbohydrate; 27 grams protein; 1 gram fiber; 390 milligrams sodium.


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