Grilled Tuna with Soy, Wasabi, and Pickled Ginger

Makes 4 servings
Time: 20 minutes, plus time to preheat the grill

This signature East Coast Grill dish is nearly raw tuna, seared on the grill for extra flavor. The tuna Chris uses here is sold as "#1" or "sashimi" quality?safe and flavorful enough to be eaten raw. (In his dish, the tuna is cooked, but only just until rare.) It's a deep, rich red, with a sweet, slightly briny odor and a high price. Though it isn't seen everywhere, almost any fish market can order it for you, because it is sold (to the highest bidder) on the open market. But if you're not itching to spend $20 plus per pound for tuna, or the fish markets near you aren't outbidding the buyers at Tokyo's world-famous Tsukiji market, you'll probably want to cook your tuna beyond the near-raw stage; check out my recipe for [recipe_link slug="tuna-teriyaki"]Tuna Teriyaki[/recipe_link].

4 (8-ounce) sashimi-grade tuna steaks, each about 2 inches thick
1/4 cup sesame oil
Salt and white pepper
3/4 cup Pickled Ginger (Gari, page 242)
6 tablespoons wasabi powder mixed with water to a paste or 6 tablespoons real wasabi paste (see sidebar)
1/2 cup top-quality soy sauce

1. Start a charcoal or gas grill; the fire should be quite hot (you should barely be able to hold your hand over it) and place the rack about 4 inches from the heat source. Brush the tuna steaks lightly with the sesame oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

2. Put the tuna on the grill and cook 4 to 5 minutes on each side, or until a dark-brown crispy skin forms. Now cook the steaks for 2 to 3 minutes on each edge (holding it on its side with tongs, if necessary), until they are cooked on the outside and very rare inside.

3. Transfer the steaks from the grill to a platter, and serve with the pickled ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce for dipping.