I have an unconditional love for seafood. Unconditional. It’s just so tasty, and I can’t explain why. This sesame crusted tuna is unbelievably easy and quick to make. Searing it adheres the sesame seeds on so nicely and seals in the freshness of the fish.

The other day, I didn’t really feel like trying something at a picnic, and a friend  called me out reminded me that I had just written about giving things/food second chances. And he was absolutely right!

Today, I am simply grateful for that reminder.

And in honor of that, I decided to make a version of a dish that I absolutely hated when I first tried it and now enjoy: sashimi. Now I loveeee raw fish! And I spend way too much money on it! Recently, though, I visited the seafood counter at Nugget Market inquiring about their oysters and tuna. The very nice man behind the counter said that their fresh ahi tuna was not on sale (at $22 a pound, I most definitely passed) but they had just discounted sushi-grade ahi tuna steaks that were flash frozen in the freezer isle. Boo-yah!

My awesome find at Nugget Market

 I bought my tuna steak, let it defrost overnight in the fridge, and reveled in my home-cooked seared ahi tuna later that same night. Although sushi and sashimi have won my heart over and over again, I cannot help but think every time I eat it what my life would be like if I had never given it a second chance. Deep, I know, but seriously! What if we judged everything by the cover and never opened the book? Well, there’s just absolutely no adventure or fun in that. Let’s just say that I am always in favor of digging a little deeper.

After all, life tastes like food, right? :)

Sesame Crusted Seared Ahi Tuna Recipe (adapted from Kevin over at Closet Cooking)

  • 1 Ahi tuna steak (mine was about 8 oz. or 1/2 pound)
  • 2 Tablespoons of black sesame seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons of white sesame seeds
  • Kosher Salt
  • Olive oil (or vegetable oil) for frying
  • Optional: (Arugula tossed in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper), Teriyaki sauce, soy sauce and wasabi

Let tuna steak completely defrost overnight in the fridge (if using fresh tuna, skip this step). Lightly use a paper towel and pat the steak to absorbe excess juices. Cut steak to your liking–you can sear the entire steak as it is or cut it into a rectangle to get more even slices (I did the latter and cut my tuna steak in half to get smaller pieces).

In a separate bowl big enough to fit the tuna steak, add the black and white sesame seeds as well as a sprinkle of kosher salt. Using tongs, coat the entire outside of the tuna by pressing it into the sesame seeds until the steak is completely covered.

In a pan, add enough oil to just coat the bottom of the pan and preheat the pan to medium-high heat. Then take the tuna and place it in the hot pan and sear for about 45 seconds* on all sides (including the skinnier sides!). Tongs really help for this process.

Slice steak up into pieces and serve on a bed of arugula with soy sauce and wasabi. You can also drizzle some teriyaki sauce over them for flavor if you’d like!

* I like my tuna extremely raw (like sashimi) so 45 seconds on each side was perfect. If you don’t like your tuna as raw, sear for longer but I suggest that you don’t go over 2 minutes or else your tuna will be too dry.

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33 Responses to “Sesame Crusted Seared Ahi Tuna”

  1. So tasty looking! Your pics are gorgeous! I only wish mine would look half as good as yours!! I lack in the photo department lol. Thanks for sharing! I’m new to blogging and love that there is a foodie community! If you have time, please check out my blog: http://shecooksandheeats.wordpress.com/. And of course! Any advice would be great :)

  2. Looks so good Stephanie! We love seared tuna.

  3. I was never a big fan of sashimi too, in fact I once had a dinner sushi buffet in Las Vegas (right after a lunch buffet in Bellagio, call me crazy) and ended up with an upset stomach for the entire night. I was literally freaked out! But recently I started to enjoy it again, especially this and I’m planning to recreate it somehow. http://shrineofgluttony.wordpress.com/2011/07/19/9/ :)

  4. Mmmmm… I love seared tuna! I hope I can attempt this soon!

  5. I am not a fan of Tuna, (bad experience) but you make it look amazing and yummy! I may just have to venture out and try it again :-)

  6. wow. this looks a-m-a-z-i-n-g!!! i just discovered your blog! seared tuna is one of my all time favourite meals!!!

  7. OMG, Stephanie this looks amaaaazing!!!! You know seared tuna is my favorite! I have a question though: Since you also know that I have an affinity for dipping sauces, what would you recommend for this?? I’m thinking some nice, Mikuni-esque spicy/sweet combo… help me!

    • Kas–Mikuni serves a red and white sauce with their seared tuna, right? For you, straight sriracha would be a great side haha plus maybe the sauces I used for the crab jalapeno poppers (look in my older posts for the recipe). I used a spicy orange sauce and an eel sauce (kind of like a thick teriyaki sauce). Let me know!!

  8. Gorgeous photos and meal! I make tuna like this every now and then, too – it is one of my very favorite seafood meals. I just love that pink color in your pics!

  9. I don’t care if it’s nearing midnight here – I want this now. Yum! Is there a flavor difference between the white and black sesame seeds, or is it more of a visual thing?

  10. [...] Edamame Japanese Cucumber Salad (recipe below) Veggie, Shrimp, and Squid Tempura Sesame Crusted Seared Ahi Tuna Sushi Rolls with an assortment of tuna, salmon, shrimp, crab, spicy tuna, cucumber, avocado, and [...]

  11. OMG WHAT A STEAL! That tuna is so inexpensive!! I have never heard of that grocery store before, I MUST find it! LOL

  12. [...] Sesame Crusted Seared Ahi Tuna from Life Tastes Like Food [...]

  13. Ok, just made this. It turned out delicious!! I put the tuna in a plate of a little soy sauce just to wet the tuna steak and then coated it with the sesame seeds & black pepper mixture. Seared it for 30 seconds on all sides. Thinly sliced it and poured some soy sauce on a platter. Placed the sliced tuna on the plate along with some fresh wasabi on one side & pickled ginger on the other. OMG!!! YUMMY!!!!!

  14. [...] can read the full post from Stephanie here, as she does a very nice job of breaking down a simple sear for Ahi Tuna. Ahi Tuna courtesy [...]

  15. Thank you so much for posting this recipe, I will be making this for dinner tonight!!

  16. Yum!

    What if I used just toasted sesame seeds?

  17. I’m always nervous about cooking tuna, but your picture looks amazing and inspired me to give it a try!

  18. This has to be the simplest recipe ever for one of the best “restaurant style” ahi tuna meals. I paired this with basmati rice and french green beans. I also paired it with a mayonnaise dip infused with wasabi paste. Absolutely terrific meal.

  19. I’ve never been a seafood eater(white tunafish only). My boyfriend howewever, is a very big seafood eater. Every time we go out for dinner he orders fish and I order chicken and I end up loving the dish he ordered. We had ahi tuna with a ginger sauce last week at a restaurant, it was amazing! I’ve been looking for recipes and came across yours, looks delicious! I’m making the seared ahi tuna with a honey-ginger sauce. I was going to use sesame seeds and cracked pepper, but I’m now thinking maybe the black sesame seeds instead.

  20. [...] Photo credit to lifetasteslikefood.com [...]

  21. […] For the rest of the preparation details and photos, go here. […]

  22. […] above image via Life Tastes Like Food, check out their recipe for Sesame Crusted Seared Ahi Tuna; featured image via Chef’s […]

  23. This recipe is so tasty and talk about simple! I love the texture and crunch that the sesame seeds give to the tuna. I buy my tuna from a great company called Rastelli Direct and it is delivered straight to my home. Here is the website if anyone is interested.

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