Ahi Tuna (Thunnus albacares), also known as Yellowfin Tuna, is typically found in pelagic , tropical, and sub-tropical oceans around the world. It’s among the largest of the Tuna family, and can weigh up to 300 pounds. While its body is a metallic blue that turns to silver at the belly, its fins are bright yellow… thus the name…
Used in cooking, Ahi Tuna is rich, not too “fishy” in flavor, and buttery. Oh man, is it buttery! Its deep red color is ideal for the visual part of cooking, which is to provide a feast for the eyes as well as the belly. This Tuna is absolutely gorgeous (well… as gorgeous as a fish can be).
The coolest thing about Ahi, is its versatility. Seared, cooled, and placed upon a bed of thinly sliced English Cucumber for a great appetizer. Or you can toss it into your favorite salad and serve it that way. Or snuggled next to some plain white (short grain) rice and some tasty greens, it makes for a great main course that won’t weigh you down. Yup… versatile.
Now in our view, the most important part of Seared Ahi is the sauce. Which is made in two ways, one to coat the fish before searing and the other to be your dippy-sauce when you munch on this tasty treat. Ready?
- A couple Ahi steaks, cut in the shape of small bricks.
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Mirin (Or any other Japanese sweet wine)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup sesame seeds (An even mix of White and Black Sesame seeds)
- 1/2 teaspoon course ground black pepper
- Wasabi paste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 or 2 finely chopped garlic cloves
Preparing the sauces:
In a bowl, stir together the soy sauce, mirin, honey sesame oil, and garlic. Pour half of this into a shallow bow. It will be used to wet your steaks before searing.
Pour the other half of the mixture in a smaller bowl. In that stir in the rice vinegar and a touch of Wasabi paste (for a little kick). This will be your dippy-sauce so set it aside for now.
Searing your Ahi:
On a flat plate or other flat surface, spread your sesame seeds and coarsely ground black pepper in an even layer. Take the tuna steaks and coat them with the sauce. Don’t drop the steaks in the bowl because that will leave them too wet. Instead, coat them using a basting brush so they are completely covered. Now roll the steaks on the sesame seeds, applying a little pressure to press the seeds onto the steaks. It should leave a nice coat around the entire steak. Note here the coverage doesn’t have to be perfect.
Take a skillet, add your olive oil and put it over a high flame to get it nice and hot. Then place the sesame coated steaks into the pan and sear each side for about 30 to 60 seconds (depending on how thick you cut the steaks). The idea here it to get the outer edge seared while leaving the center juicy and rare.
Remove from the pan and let them sit for a couple minutes before slicing. You can serve this as an appetizer, in
a salad, or as your main course. Either way be sure to slice it up before plating, you want to be able to see that beautiful seared edge as well as that delectable rare center. Don’t forget to put some Wasabi paste on the plate and serve with the dippy sauce.