I have been so excited to post this recipe! I am a sushi lover, but I’m not a big fan of sashimi (just fish, no rice). I just can’t get over the texture of a raw piece of fish without all of the other accoutrements added on. Then I discovered seared Ahi Tuna. It is seared just enough to give it a nice firmness around the edges, while still maintaining the tenderness and sweet flavor of the yellowfin tuna on the inside. I have had many versions at sushi restaurants and seafood restaurants, but I wanted to give it a try myself. With a little technique, you can make a beautiful and delicious Ahi Tuna that will impress even your most finicky guest=)
First, it is important to start with a good quality filet of yellowfin tuna (sushi grade).
You will also need a good cast iron pot or pan if you want to get a really nice sear on the tuna steak. I like this one from Le Crueset because it is coated with enamel which makes it a bit more user friendly.
Yellowfin Tuna fillet (one 8 oz fillet per person)
2 tbsp Sesame Oil
2 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
1 tbsp Soy Sauce (I prefer low sodium)
1/2 cup Course Black Pepper
1/2 cup Black and White Toasted Sesame Seeds
1 Bunch Watercress
1 TbspRice Wine Vinegar
1 Tbsp Honey
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Now for the fun part.
Wash and pat dry tuna fillet. You do not want any moisture as this will interfere with the searing. Mix sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and soy sauce in a bowl and pour over tuna fillet.
Cover the fillet with coarsely ground black pepper on both sides.
Heat your nonstick skillet or cast iron pot/pan on high heat. Add a thin layer of cooking spray and wait for it to get hot, but be careful not to burn the oil. Place the tuna fillet in pan and do not move the fillet until you have a proper sear on one side, which which will take about 2 minutes. Flip the fillet over carefully and sear the other side for 2 minutes.
Remove from the heat and cover one side with the sesame seed mixture. Pat down the seeds to assure that they stick to the fillet. Set aside for five minutes before slicing (this is the hardest part for me because I want to eat it!)
For the salad, wash and dry the watercress and cut off longer stems. Mix the rice wine vinegar, honey, and olive oil in a bowl until the olive oil emulsifies. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the mixture over the watercress. That’s it!
Finally, if you really want to impress your dinner guest, you have to present it in a chic way.
Slice tuna along the grains into thin slices. Place the salad in the middle of the plate, and fan the tuna slices around the salad. Serve with wasabi paste and soy sauce.
Here is the way I plated the dish. What do you think?
All photographs for this post were taken my the amazingly talented Ben Sassani. Click here to see more of his work.