How to Cook Yellowtail Tuna Fish

Though commonly considered tuna -- and similar to a small tuna in appearance --, yellowtail tuna actually belong to the amberjack species. Yellowtail are fast-swimming predatory fish common in U.S. Pacific Ocean waters. The flesh is lighter than tuna, but yellowtail has a similar firm, meaty texture. Yellowtail fillets grill particularly well, and whole yellowtail tuna are good baked. In Japan, yellowtail amberjack species are used for certain types of sushi and sashimi. Always clean and gut the fish before cooking to remove the scales and internal organs.

A grilled fillet of tuna ready to be served.
Credit: gkrphoto/iStock/Getty Images

Grill Yellowtail Tuna

Step 1

Cut the yellowtail into fillets. Cut around the gill plate on one side of the head with a filleting knife. Insert the knife in just above the backbone and slide it carefully along toward the tail. Do the same on the other side, then cut off the tail to leave two fillet pieces. Leave the skin on.

Step 2

Drizzle olive oil onto the yellowtail fillets and rub it into the flesh. Grind fresh pepper and crushed sea salt onto both sides of the fish.

Step 3

Place a heavy, ridged griddle pan on the stove. Brush with oil and turn on the heat to a hot temperature.

Step 4

Lay the yellowtail tuna fillets on the skillet flesh-side down. Cook for five minutes, then flip to the skin-side and cook for five more minutes. Aim for a crispy skin. Serve the fillets with vegetables, fries or buttered potatoes.

Bake Yellowtail

Step 1

Clean, gut and de-scale the yellowtail fish. Leave the head and tail attached to the fish.

Step 2

Place in a lightly-oiled oven pan. Stuff garlic, onion and ginger in the fish gut cavity. Alternatively, make a rub with olive oil and crushed garlic, ginger, salt and pepper and smear it into the fish.

Step 3

Cook at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, or until the yellowtail flesh falls easily from the bone, but before the flesh gets mushy.

Step 4

Remove the head and fish spine by pulling through the center of the fish and serve.

Things You'll Need

  • Filleting knife

  • Olive oil

  • Pepper

  • Sea salt

  • Griddle pan

  • Baking tray

  • Garlic

  • Onion

  • Ginger

Tips

Try marinating yellowtail tuna fillets for a few hours before cooking -- for example, in an olive oil, herb and lemon marinade.

Warning

Always cook fresh fish. Old, smelly or cloudy-eyed fish may be dangerous to your health.

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