Quick and Easy Asian Tuna Steak

First let me preface this by saying this dish would be incredible sitting on  bed of julienne zucchini, carrots and yellow squash. Yum. Oh well.

You were granted a sneak peak of this post yesterday. ;) Now you will be able to see the "making of." Here's the finished dish, once again:


You wont believe how simple, quick and easy this is. To cook the tuna takes literally 5 minutes or less. The sauce is quick too, but it requires a bit of finesse.

Here are the players:


To begin, place a grill pan or cast iron skillet on high heat. This is for searing your tuna steak. In a moment or two, coat the pan with olive oil. The pan should be very hot before you place the tuna into it.

Next, in separate small sauce pan, heat the sesame oil. The temperature should be medium. Sesame oil burns quickly. You want it hot enough to cook the garlic but not burn it, or the oil!

I hope you have a garlic press. It's the only way to get this:


See the juice? This stuff will burn your tongue!


Then cook that smooshed puppy...


As soon as you can smell the garlic, turn down the heat. Now for some reason I stopped photographing the rest of this process. I suppose it was because it all happens so quickly from here on out. Go ahead and mince the fresh ginger. I like to use my garlic press for that. I peel the ginger of course, then cut it small enough to fit into the press. Add that to the sesame oil and garlic. Immediately add soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. Whisk everything together, trying to emulsify if possible. Turn down the heat and let the sauce sit for a bit while you get the tuna seared.

Oh and I forgot to photograph this earlier:


Sweetness is a must. Add as much of this as you like. Not too much, but your sauce definitely needs to be a bit on the sweet side.

OK, onto the tuna. Your tuna should be fresh and look something like this:


If your tuna is not as pink, that is probably better. This one was sprayed with carbon monoxide. It's not harmful, so I've read, but I would much rather have eaten fresh tuna instead which is a rarity around the Midwest. Flash frozen tuna has slightly redder or browner appearance and that's fine too if you don't mind the color. At least it's not sprayed. It's up to you. In my case, the choices were limited.

So go ahead and drop this big guy onto a very hot, hot pan. The tuna should be seared; that is, the tuna will be cooked or scorched on the outside, but cool and rare on the inside. Why? The myths say that it seals in the juices. This simply is not true, and it has been proven otherwise. However, it does create a nice flavor on the outside and keeps the tuna rare on the inside. If you slowly cook the tuna instead, it will cook a bit more evenly, and in this case, it is not the desired result. You want your tuna to look like this, below:


Tuna is best eaten rare or mid-rare. See the pink in the middle? Having seared both sides for about 2 minutes each, my tuna is now ready to plate.

I placed in on my plate, garnished it with cilantro and fresh avocado, and then I had mixed up a little wasabi garnish to make each bite nice and hot.


Bummer, I forgot to sprinkle my black sesame seeds on the dish prior to the photo shoot. But you get the idea. And see how pink it is in the middle? That is perfect! YUM! I actually ate this dish standing up. I decided not to waste time setting a table for one.

Here's the recipe for one tuna steak dinner:

Asian Seared Tuna

  • 6 oz tuna steak
  • 2T toasted sesame oil
  • 3T soy sauce
  • 1T rice wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • freshly grated ginger (or minced or pressed), about 1/2 "
  • 1 t black sesame seeds or toasted white sesame seeds
  • 1  - 2 t agave syrup, to taste
  • 1/2 avocado
  • a few sprigs of fresh cilantro
  • a "clump" (smallish) of wasabi
  •  heat up a grill pan, fry pan or cast iron skillet on HIGH
  • coat pan with olive oil
  • sear tuna 2-3 minutes on each side, keeping the center of the tuna steak cool and rare
  • heat up sesame oil in a small sauce pan, medium heat, being careful not to burn the oil
  • using a garlic press, add the garlic to the oil once the oil is heated
  • saute for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, being careful not to burn the garlic!
  • immediately add the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and the ginger
  • whisk to emulsify the sauce if possible
  • add the agave syrup to taste. The sauce should have a slightly sweet taste to it.
  • adjust the sauce to your liking. If it needs more of anything, please accommodate your own tastes
  • Follow directions on the package 
Plate the dinner:
  • Put the tuna on a plate
  • Pour the sauce onto the tuna and on the plate
  • garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro
  • slice avocado, add to side of plate
  • add wasabi "clump" to the side of the dish
  • if you have pickled ginger, that would be a nice addition to garnish the plate with