Saturday, March 13, 2010

Perfectly Seared Ahi Tuna

Ok, so I have a little confession.  I love seafood.  I love the sea and I love food.  The surprise is as much as folks out there may think I'm some big foodie, sushi is where I typically draw the line.  That said, here is a dish that definitely rides the fence between these two worlds and I absolutely love it.  Even if you are looking at this picture and thinking, "Oh, I could never eat that..." well, you had better not speak too soon because there was a time I would have been right there with you.

This is one of the fastest meals to put together ever.  You will need the freshest tuna you can get your grubby little meat-hooks on.  It should be bright red and have a slight translucence to it.  If it doesn't look fresh, it probably isn't and you would be wasting your time to buy it.  I usually cannot find fresh tuna in the area where I live, but as I passed the fish in the grocery, some of the best tuna I've seen in a while caught my eye.  It was a little pricy but I had to have it.  You just can't pass up a good find like this knowing it could be a very long time before you see it again.

Anyhow, I didn't have any black sesame seeds so I toasted some extra dark and mixed with lightly toasted for that classic S&P look.  The smell and flavor is intense when you do this.  I think it worked well.  So all you do is take out the tuna, lightly salt it to draw some of the moisture to the surface, then crust with sesame seeds.  Next, get your pan heated to medium high with just enough oil to coat the bottom.  Once the oil is shimmering hot, sear the tuna on all sides.  Do not cook it too long, or it will be tough.  You want to sear it only about 2 minutes or so on each side.  The time on each side needs to be equal so the sear will be uniform.  Once finished searing, place the fish on a plate and cut against the grain length-wise with a sharp knife.

For the sauce, I took leeks, orange peel, soy sauce, honey, teriyaki, sesame oil (just a few drops), rice vinegar, and a little water and brought to a boil.  Reduce slightly and strain off the solids.  The sauce is perfect with the fish.  Plate the sauce then lay the fish over it.  To make the plating have a fancy Asian flare, I cut a few slices of leek and pressed the centers up to form little cones.  On the side is steamed asparagus, but you could have easily paired with something else.  Enjoy.

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