Grilled Tuna with Wasabi, Sake, and Lime

The Japanese have a knack with fish. Techniques are simple, sauces clean and vibrant. Here is one that takes moments to put together, and moments to consume, happily. Serve with rice and snap peas, spinach, or Japanese eggplant.



  • 2 tablespoons sake
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mild olive oil
  • 4 pieces yellowfin tuna fillet, about 6 ounces each and ¾ to 1 inch thick

Wasabi Butter

  • 1 tablespoon wasabi powder
  • 1 tablespoon sake
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • Olive oil for brushing the fish
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper



For the marinade, combine all the ingredients in a shallow nonaluminum container. Turn the tuna fillets in the marinade and let stand about 30 minutes.

For the wasabi butter, mix the wasabi with the sake to make a paste. Let rest 20 minutes and then beat the paste into the softened butter (see note). Season with salt and pepper.

Heat a grill or broiler. Brush the tuna lightly with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and grill or broil to medium rare. 2 to 3 minutes each side. Transfer to serving plates and place 1 tablespoon wasabi butter on each piece of tuna. Serve hot.