Heavy Metal: Tuna's Got Less Of It Now! Let's Make Some Tuna Steaks!

Did you know that ingesting mercury is a doubleplusungood thing to do? Not exactly a shocking revelation, is it? Thanks to the EPA -- and the decline of coal -- we're doing a lot less of it today than we were 20 or 30 years ago. The largest single source of mercury in our diet? Tuna fish, particularly canned tuna. Since that accounts for about 40% of our exposure, it's gonna be a long time before it drops to second place, but things are getting better, and doing so faster than expected.

As reported in Scientific American, a study released in November of last year showed researchers were surprised to find the concentration of mercury in Atlantic Bluefin Tuna declined by 19% in less than nine years.

Most of the mercury contamination in the North Atlantic comes from coal fired power plants in the US. Due to both the reduction in coal use, and tighter regulation on the contaminants they release, the researchers expected to see a reduction, but “'We could as easily have expected it to take a century' for the fish to show signs of recovery," study co-author Nicholas Fisher explained.

Real world results, benefiting every consumer, everywhere, from regulations forcing big corporations to behave like good neighbors. Well, better neighbors than they previously had been, anyway. Who'da thunk it? Not our current POTUS, to be sure, considering who he named to be the head of the EPA.

So today, in celebration of the demise of Big Coal (because even D. Orangefuehrer ain't bringing those coal jobs back), we make:

Marinated Tuna Steaks!

No longer doubles as a thermometer.

Today's recipe is, other than the marinating time, quick and easy; perfectly suitable for a weeknight when you don't want to fuss. Still, it brings plenty of flavor, with a delightful blend of sweet from the orange juice & Hoisin sauce, and savory from the garlic. You'll enjoy this one.

Ideally, cook on a gas range, to avoid using power from coal.

Drinkage: Well, it's FISH, so white wine seems the obvious choice. A glass or two of a nice Chardonnay while it marinates would be about right, I think.

Difficulty: 2/10

Time: 10 minutes prep, ~ 30 minutes resting, 10 minutes cooking: 50 minutes total.

Serves 3.



  • 3 (4 ounce) fresh tuna steaks
  • 1⁄4 cup orange juice
  • 1⁄4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon OR lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 fresh garlic cloves, minced (can use less if you hate flavor)


  • In a bowl combine all marinade ingredients until well blended.
  • Place the tuna steaks into a large ziplock bag.
  • Pour the marinade over the tuna steaks and turn to coat.
  • Refrigerate 15 - 45 minutes (turning a couple of times during chilling).
  • Preheat a pan over MEDIUM-HIGH heat.
  • Remove the steaks from marinade and place on a plate.
  • Season lightly with freshly ground black pepper on both sides.
  • Grill the steaks for 4 - 5 minutes per side or until rare or medium-rare (DO NOT overcook the tuna or it will be dry!).

Serve, as shown, with some stir-fried vegetables in a ginger-garlic sauce, like this one. (Or use the packet that came with your pre-cut veggies, why the hell not.) Some rice would do nicely as your starch, and you have a full meal, on the table in under an hour. What's not to like?

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[Scientific American / American Chemical Society]


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