Seared Ahi Tuna
Let’s make a restaurant quality meal in minutes with this seared ahi tuna recipe.
Growing up, the only type of tuna I knew came from a can. Much of our food came from a can or box. In fact, the only way we ate tuna was added to what I later learned was a mix of milk, butter and flour; then the mixture was poured over toast. Yep, there’s many names for this concoction . . . I’ll leave you to your own if this is a food you grew up with too. If you did, you probably didn’t know, any more than I did, that tuna was anything besides a gray mass of lumps stored in oil (later, in the “healthier” years, in water).
Imagine my surprise the first time I tried seared ahi tuna. First, it was pink, not gray. Second, the tuna was tender and moist rather than oily. Third, it had sesame seeds encrusted on the tuna that made it oh so delicious. It was a far cry from the days of tuna in white gravy over toast! I’ll be honest here and admit that it took me a few times before I trusted this pink seared ahi tuna. But, eventually, I came to love it.
Nutrition Information for Ahi Tuna
Even more importantly, I came to realize the amazing nutritional value of tuna that hasn’t been cooked to gray and stored in cheap oil. Using a 3 oz portion as an example, you’re looking at less than 100 calories with almost 20 grams of protein! Ahi tuna is some serious diet food. Oh, and basically no carbs and no sugars. Less than a gram of fat with 207 mg of Omega-3 fatty acids! Plus, 42% of your daily niacin, 38% of your vitamin B6, 25% of your thiamin, 44% of your selenium and 11% of your vitamin D. Tuna is one healthy food! We’re talking the vitamins and minerals you need to increase your metabolism, improve digestion, make your skin healthier, form good genetic material, create red blood cells, improve neurological function and strengthen teeth and bones. Tuna also has a lot of other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts.
Simple – it’s good for you!
Do make sure that you are purchasing high quality ahi tuna though.
Mercury and Tuna
By now most of us have heard that fish and shellfish may contain mercury and in some cases large quantities of mercury – possibly dangerous if eaten too often. As with much of our information, it’s constantly changing. So, for your own safety, always check Seafood Watch www.seafoodwatch.org – here you will find the most up-to-date information by the Monterey Bay Aquarium and you can search for seafood recommendations. As of this writing there are still plenty of options on their “best choice” list – 19 to be exact; plus 42 “good choice” options. There are 81 “avoid” tunas too so it’s really best to check the website for your location.
Right now, there are plenty of options and the research is showing that most tuna is low in mercury. To know more here is an updated article July 2, 2019 from the FDA about mercury https://www.fda.gov/food/metals/fdaepa-2004-advice-what-you-need-know-about-mercury-fish-and-shellfish.
It’s always best to be safe if you are pregnant, thinking of becoming pregnant, nursing, or feeding children under 3 years old. If you’re like me and none of these parameters define you, then please enjoy this tuna recipe.
I love white peppercorns in this seared ahi tuna recipe because it gives a bit of heat although it may not have as complex of a flavor profile. I know, some would disagree with me. There’s quite a disagreement about the complexity of white pepper vs. black pepper – careful if you decide to go down that Google rabbit hole! But, if you only have black peppercorns, it works out fine. Or, if you don’t want any heat, skip the peppercorns. It’s the sesame seeds that really make this seared ahi tuna recipe pop but I really like the spicy addition of peppercorns and cayenne. Let me know your thoughts.
Dipping sauce is totally optional when it comes to seared ahi tuna. Sometimes I make it – sometimes I don’t. The recipe tastes great either way. The dipping sauce offered here is a sweet and savory mixture to compliment the spicy tuna. I love it but I don’t always have pineapple and/or don’t want to spend the money to purchase it so feel free to skip making the dipping sauce if it’s not in your budget. The meal will still be restaurant quality.
Seared Ahi Tuna & Dipping Sauce
- 2 T coriander seed
- ½ t white peppercorns
- 2 T apple cider vinegar
- ½ t wasabi powder
- 3 T black sesame seeds
- 3 T white sesame seeds
- 1 t sea salt
- ¼ t cayenne pepper
- 1 ½ t paprika
- 1 t chili powder
- 1 t ghee
- ¾ c pureed pineapple
- 2 T tamari
- 2 T mirin
- Juice of one lime
- 2 T honey
- 3 t minced fresh ginger
Directions for Dipping Sauce:
- Mix all ingredients in a small saucepan.
- Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer until slightly thickened, approximately 10 minutes.
- Serve warm or chilled.
Directions for Tuna:
- Heat dry skillet until water flicked into skillet dances and quickly evaporates. Toast coriander seeds and peppercorns until fragrant. Cool and grind.
- Mix vinegar and powder together to make a paste.
- Mix ground coriander and peppercorns with sesame seeds and spices.
- Brush paste onto tuna and roll in sesame seed mixture.
- Heat skillet and add ghee. Once ghee is melted sear both sides of the tuna, approximately 3 minutes per side.
- Remove and thinly slice.
- Serve with dipping sauce.