I made this particular dish the other day and it was absolutely wonderful. My wife, who normally does not eat big portions, cleaned off her plate and wanted more, so that is a very good sign.
The thickness of the tuna steak you use really depends on how rare you like your tuna. Because you are only searing the outside of your tuna steak, it will not be in the pan for very long. So the thicker the steak, the more rare the center will be.
I personally do not like my tuna too rare, so I usually make this recipe with thinner cuts of tuna. This is just a preference, not a requirement. Many people, including chefs say the only way to eat tuna is rare. I guess you will have to be the judge.
Let us move on to the recipe shall we?
Seared Sesame Encrusted Ahi Tuna with a Cilantro, Garlic and Lime sauce..
I should mention one thing before we begin this recipe. I do not follow exact measurements in recipes. I measure everything by eye, so the following measurements are only to be used as a guide. So don't get too mad at me!
This is optional, but I like to toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan first before I put them on the tuna. The seeds become nutty and aromatic when you toast them. This is highly recommended if you have the time and is quite easy to do. Simply heat a dry pan over medium heat, then add the seeds shaking the pan occasionally. You may have to do this in batches, depending on how many seeds you are toasting. You do not want to overcrowd the pan. Keep an eye on the seeds and make sure they do not burn. Toast them until they darken a bit and start to become fragrant. Remove and let them cool before adding them to the tuna.
1/4 Cup Black Sesame Seeds
1/4 Cup White Sesame Seeds
1 Tablespoon of Sesame Oil
2 - 6 ounce Ahi (Also known as Yellow Fin) Tuna Steaks
Salt and Pepper to Taste
MARINADE/ DIPPING SAUCE
1/ 2 Cup of Low Sodium Soy Sauce (Who needs the extra sodium, right?)
1 Lime (Juice and Zest - If you want more lime flavor, add another)
1- 2 Cloves of Garlic Minced
2 Tablespoons of Honey
1 Tablespoon of Sesame Oil
2 Tablespoons of Freshly Chopped Cilantro Leaves
1) Prepare the marinade. Add all marinade ingredients to a small bowl and mix well. Reserve half of this marinade in a separate container to use as a dipping sauce.
2) Get a glass baking dish or other non-reactive container to marinade the tuna in. You want the tuna steaks to fit snuggly in the dish so that they are surrounded nicely with the marinade. Pour the marinade into the dish and put the tuna steaks in and kind of swirl the marinade around so that you coat the fish well. Cover with some plastic wrap and refrigerate. Another option is to pour the marinade in a large zip lock bag, add the tuna, and then squeeze out the air. Marinade for 30 minutes to an hour, turning the tuna about half way through.
3) Remove tuna from fridge and let stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes or so.
4) Remove tuna from marinade, shaking off any excess marinade and dry on paper towels.
5) Heat a saute pan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. The oil should be hot but not smoking.
6) While the pan is heating, arrange your sesame seeds on a flat dish. Roll the tuna around in the seeds pressing down as you roll ensuring the seeds are packed into the tuna nicely.
7) Add the tuna to the hot saute pan and shake it a bit to make sure the tuna does not stick. Sear for 30 to 40 seconds on both sides.
8) Remove and serve with the reserved dipping sauce.
For side dishes with this recipe I usually keep things pretty bland as I don't want anything to compete with the flavors in the tuna. So I usually prepare a side of steamed green beans with a bit of butter, salt and pepper or other vegetable along with some lightly seasoned jasmine or basmati rice.
There you have it. I do hope you enjoy this Seared Sesame Encrusted Ahi Tuna recipe. I am not a big wine drinker, but for those of you who like a glass or two with dinner, I heard a nice Pinot Grigio goes quite well with Tuna. Buon Appetito!