seafood sunday: pan fried sesame tuna

Hoping to start/continue my seafood sunday tradition, I once again visited the West Coast Seafood stand at the Hollywood farmer’s market.  I can’t really distinguish good quality seafood from mediocre seafood (yet?), so it helps to go somewhere that I trust.  I bought a fairly thick piece of albacore tuna and some smoked salmon, both of which were excellent.  The tuna was also sashimi grade, so I could undercook and not worry about getting sick.

But what to do with it?  Here is a very simple recipe that’s probably very boring if you know how to cook fish.  My main inspiration is this guy/girl.  That person inspired me to completely copy their recipe, is what I mean.

Sesame tuna

tuna steak, 1.5″ -2″ thick

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 tbs Mirin

2tbs sesame oil

1tbs honey or maple syrup

1 tbs or more siracha

2 tsp rice vinegar

sesame seeds, lots


1/2 cup brown rice

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup or more scallions, sliced

step zero: first make the rice.  Add some olive oil to a medium sauce pan on medium high heat.  Add the garlic and a pinch of salt and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring (on medium).  Add the brown rice and cook for 1 min, stirring.  Add one cup of water, bring to boil, reduce to simmer and cover.  Do all the steps below while the rice cooks.  When the rice is done, stir in the scallions.

1. combine soy sauce, mirin, honey/maple syrup, siracha, and 1 tbs of the oil in a measuring cup and whisk briefly with a fork.  Pour half of this into a small bowl and reserve.  We’ll call this half ‘sid’.

2. Add the rice vinegar to the other half, and taste (to see if you like it).  We’ll call this half ‘nancy’.

3. Take out your tuna steak(s), wash and pat dry.  Brush liberally with ‘sid’.  Then cover with sesame seeds.  The best way is just to pour a bunch out on a cutting board or plate and roll the steak around, pressing to make sure they stick.  I also covered the sides of the steak, because it seemed like the right thing to do.

4. Heat a cast-iron pan on high for at least 5 minutes.

5.  Add oil and then the tuna.  You can add more oil if you want.

My steak was a little more than 1.5″ thick.  If you have quality tuna, I would do 2 minutes per side, then flip vertically and do 30 sec on each of those sides.  I did this while holding the tuna piece up with a wooden spoon and spatula.  I cooked it for slightly longer than this on each side, because I didn’t have this post to direct me. (The original recipe calls for just 30 sec on each side – so that’s really just crust and raw tuna, which is cool too). Transfer to a cutting board, and slice.

6. Spoon some of ‘nancy’ over the tuna and rice.  You can always keep the bowl of ‘nancy’ with you as you eat.

The general flavor combinations here – soy plus something: sweet, spicy, and sour/tangy works well in a lot of different preparations, and also recalls one of my favorite tofu dishes (r.i.p., vegan yum yum).  also enjoyable is the combination of the exterior of the tuna, which is crunchy, and the interior which is fresh and still tastes like the sea.  The fishy sea.  Fish.


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