Inspiration: B and I had this sesame tuna when we were out for restaurant week in our city earlier this year. Appetizer, dinner, and dessert for $25 at a ton of restaurants in town. This meal was way out of my comfort zone at the time, but it was on the special restaurant week menu at a seafood and martini bar that we went to, so I had to give it a try. And you know what? It was one of the best meals that I’ve ever had in a restaurant. I loved it. Ever since, I’ve been thinking of trying to make it at home, but I’ve been a little hesitant since I’ve never cooked with tuna before. I finally gave it a try last night, and I’m so glad that I did! This is one of the easiest and fastest fancy main dishes that you can make, and my homemade version tasted just like the restaurant version. I’d go so far as to say that this is one of my favorite main courses of all time.
What we Loved: Well, it’s obvious already that I really love this dish. Tuna is such a fabulous and delicious fish, and this recipe is all about highlighting that fresh seafood flavor. The fish is served nearly raw, with just a nice sear on all sides, and the sesame seed coating offers a fantastic salty compliment to the fish. I just love that salty crunch! The fresh fish flavor and the salty crust work so amazingly well together that you really don’t need anything else.
Helpful Hints: I would caution not to overcook the tuna. It really needs to be very rare and only needs about two minutes total in the pan. It’s hard not to think that you need to cook the steaks longer, but I definitely wouldn’t make this recipe (and spend the money on the expensive fish) unless you’re comfortable with the steaks being nearly raw. Also, I had some difficulty finding black sesame seeds in the grocery store. I wandered over to the international aisle, and they had black and white sesame seeds in the Asian section with some other sushi ingredients (including wasabi powder, which I bought to make a wasabi viniagrette to serve over some arugula and avocado as a side dish). If you have trouble finding everything that you need in the spice aisle, I’d give the international aisle a shot. And if you like wasabi, it pairs really well with this dish, as do avocados.
Seared Tuna with Sesame Seeds
Source: Inspired from a local restaurant, with the how-to and side dish ideas taken from Use Real Butter
2 6-8 oz fresh tuna steaks
Black sesame seeds
White sesame seeds
Extra virgin olive oil
1. Mix an equal portion of black sesame seeds and white sesame seeds in a shallow bowl with a generous bit of salt. Coat the tuna steaks in the mixture, adding more sesame seeds and salt to the bowl if necessary.
2. Heat some oil in saute pan, enough to generously coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot, add the tuna steaks using kitchen tongs.
3. Sear for 45 seconds on each side. Using kitchen tongs, sear all of the shorter sides/ends of the steaks for 5-10 seconds each.
4. Slice and serve.