What is the black or dark red on tuna and swordfish and is it okay to eat?

Pan-Grilled Thai Tuna Saladenlarge
Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Jan Gautro

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If you have a cooking question, our expert, Marge Perry, can answer it. Marge teaches home cooks in her classes at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. She is an award-winning food writer, longtime contributor for Cooking Light and a number of other leading food magazines, author of the blog A Sweet and Savory Life, columnist for Newsday, and has contributed to over 20 cookbooks.

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That dark, nearly black area in the middle of your tuna or swordfish steak is nothing bad or unhealthy, although you may not like its strong flavor. It is a muscle that is rich in myoglobin, a blood pigment. But lest that sound creepy to you, bear in mind that myoglobin is the same iron-containing pigment that makes red meat red.

You can leave it in when you cook the fish: the stronger flavor of that one area will not affect the rest of the fish.

Recipe: Pan-Grilled Thai Tuna Salad

Marge Perry
May, 2011
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