If the world were going to end tomorrow, I’d eat seared tuna tonight. Fortunately, the world shows (almost) no signs of ending so soon. Unfortunately, tuna is really expensive. For this preparation I chose to use albacore, the more economical cousin ahi and bluefin tuna. Although you sacrifice some of the buttery texture and balanced flavor found in pricier species, you will be very happy with the results.
Note: Consuming raw or undercooked fish can lead to a bad day. When purchasing fish for this recipe, be sure to buy only fish labeled “sushi grade” or “sashimi grade”. If you’re unsure, ask your fish dude or local mermaid.
Makes: 2 Pittsburgh-rare tuna steaks
Total Kitchen Time: 40 minutes (including marinating time)
- 2 1.5-inch thick tuna steaks (albacore, yellowfin, bluefin, or other sashimi-grade variety)
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tsp freshly grated ginger
- 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- Place the tuna steaks in a shallow baking dish, just large enough to fit both pieces.
- In a small bowl, combine the orange juice, soy sauce, honey, vinegar, ginger and pepper. Reserve 1/4 cup of the marinade and pour the rest over the tuna steaks. Cover the fish dish (get it? I made a rhyme) with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes, flipping once.
- [Just before you're ready to cook the tuna] In a small saucepan, heat the reserved marinade. In a small cup, mix the cornstarch with 2 tbsp of hot water until dissolved. Slowly stir the cornstarch mixture into the heated marinade. Keep stirring over high heat until the marinade has thickened to the consistency of maple syrup.
- Spread the sesame seeds in an even layer on a plate. Working one at a time, press the tuna steaks into the sesame seeds, turning to coat all sides.
- Prepare your heat source (grill, grill pan, skillet) on very high heat. Seriously, get it as hot as it will go. If you’re using a grill, aim for at least 550 F. Using such high heat will let you sear the outside of the fish while keeping the inside nearly raw. Lightly grease your cooking surface with a high smoke point oil (safflower oil, enova) or cooking spray. Cook the steaks until they look like the picture above, about 2 minutes per side.
- Drizzle a spoon full of thickened marinade over the steaks and serve immediately.