Milk Is The Creamy Ingredient You Should Marinate Your Tuna Steaks In

When preparing seafood, particularly fish like tuna, it's inevitable that at some point in time, there will be a strong smell to contend with. While this doesn't automatically mean your fish has gone bad, it's also not something you want lingering around your house as you cook (or persisting after preparation). Luckily, there's an easy solution and you probably already have it in your refrigerator. Use milk as a marinade for your stinky tuna! 

The strong smell of tuna and other seafood is because of a compound known as trimethylamine or TMA. Luckily, a protein in milk called casein can help get rid of the strong smell because it actually latches onto TMA and removes it once the milk is rinsed away. Leftover buttermilk also has casein and can therefore be used as a substitute for regular milk, but the flavor is notably tangier and more noticeable, even after your tuna steaks are rinsed. Whatever milk you choose, after soaking the tuna steak should be rinsed under cold water until the water runs clear to minimize that milky taste in the steak or a film that can cause an unwanted brown crust when cooked. To know if the odor is gone, trust your nose — just rinse the milk and smell the steak. It's also a good idea to pat the steaks dry with a paper towel to remove any moisture before you season them so the seasoning sticks better to the meat. 

Milk neutralizes seafood odors

Even if your tuna isn't particularly stinky, you might find that your tuna steaks end up tough after cooking. Soaking a tuna steak in milk will not only help deodorize it but can help tenderize the steak as well. Unlike highly acidic marinades (like lemon juice) that can make tuna steak mushy, milk is only slightly acidic so it slowly breaks down the proteins in tuna steak allowing for a gentler tenderizer. Be careful if you use buttermilk, however, because it is more acidic and will tenderize the tuna steak more quickly, so it's best to only marinate it for short periods of time. As with using milk for odor elimination, when using it as a tenderizer you'll also want to rinse off the excess milk before preparing the tuna steak.

Another advantage of using milk over something like lemon juice in your tuna steak marinade is flavor. While the tuna steak may take on an unwanted creamy flavor if it isn't properly rinsed, soaking the tuna steak in milk is the easiest way to tenderize the meat without adding additional flavor. This allows the flavor of the tuna steak to really shine through. Lemon juice, on the other hand, can leave behind a citrusy taste. 

So, the next time you're faced with a stinky or tough tuna steak, marinate it in milk, wash off the excess, and prepare it by using your favorite tuna steak recipe.