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Tuna with Sesame Seeds and Asian-inspired Sauce

  • April 26, 2009

Lest you think that all I cook is Italian food, here’s a curve-ball for you. While Italian food is my cuisine of choice, I’m really an equal opportunity-foodie and I prepare food from different cultures all over the world. When the weather turns warmer, I especially like to make this dish, which not only takes little preparation time, thereby heating up the kitchen very little, but it also tastes great and looks pretty enough for company.

I’m always surprised at how many servings you can get from a slice of fresh tuna. I bought the piece above, which weighed about 1.16 pounds, perfect for four people. We were only three at dinner when I made this, so we had leftovers for another meal. Serve the cold leftover tuna over a green salad and if you’ve got average appetites, you and another person will enjoy a light, but delicious dinner.

Tuna with Sesame Seeds and Asian-Inspired Sauce

Marinate the tuna, even if only 1/2 hour, in a splash of soy sauce, minced garlic and a drizzle of olive oil.

For a piece of tuna that weighs about 1 1/4 pounds, you’ll need a total of about 1/4 cup of a combination of white sesame seeds and black sesame seeds. Black sesame seeds are harder to find than the white but sometimes they’re available in small jars in the “ethnic” food sections of the grocery store. I bought mine in bulk at a local health food store. They’re much cheaper that way and you only have to buy what you need.

Mix the two kinds of sesame seeds together on a plate. Take the tuna out of the marinade and press into the sesame seeds on the plate. Turn over and make sure that the tuna is covered on both sides with sesame seeds.

Heat about 1 T. of olive oil in a nonstick skillet. Place the tuna in the skillet and cook on medium heat for about three or four minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the tuna steak and your preference of doneness. I also put a lid on the pan part of the time, which helps to speed up the cooking and keep the top of the tuna steak warm. I generally test the fish (and meat) with my fingertips to tell if it’s done to my liking. If the fish (or meat) still feels springy, but not flabby, (like raw meat would feel to the touch), it’s usually rare or medium rare, depending on the amount of resistance. Once there’s no spring left, you’ve got well done protein, which may be to your liking, but to me it’s ruined at that point.

Pour the sauce over the tuna (or serve it in a separate bowl with a spoon if you prefer).

For the sauce:

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup orange juice
1 T. sesame seed oil (the kind you buy in Asian food stores)
2 scallions, sliced
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
cracked black pepper
2 T. chopped fresh chives

Blend everything together with a fork and pour over the tuna – or serve separately.