Seared Tuna Steaks with Caper Butter


Our favorite way to cook tuna steaks is to heat a cast-iron skillet on the stovetop and sear them in a little olive oil—or you can grill them. Whatever method you choose, remember that tuna is a lean fish that should be browned on the exterior, but still rare in the center. Serve with a compound butter made with bell pepper and capers for a restaurant-style finish that’s a breeze to make.


  • 4 fresh tuna steaks, each about 8 ounces and ¾ inch thick

  • Extra-virgin olive oil, to coat tuna

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and dried

  • 1 tablespoon finely diced red and/or yellow pepper

  • 1 large bunch fresh arugula


  1. Rub tuna with olive oil, salt, and plenty of pepper. Set aside to marinate for at least 20 minutes.

  2. In a small bowl, combine butter, capers, and diced peppers. Turn mixture onto a square of parchment or wax paper, and roll into a log about 1/2-inch in diameter. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

  3. Heat an iron skillet slowly over low heat until very hot (a few drops of water splashed in the pan should evaporate almost immediately). Arrange tuna in skillet, and cook for about 5 minutes on each side. It should be well browned and crisp on the outside and rare to medium on the inside.

  4. Arrange arugula on plates or platter. Place tuna on top with a slice of caper butter on each steak. Serve immediately.

Cook's Notes

The fish can also be cooked on the grill, but make sure it's very hot, so that the outside of the tuna is seared before the inside is cooked through.

Related Articles