Pan-seared tuna steak is one of the most simple fish preparations there is! While tuna is an expensive fish, cooking a tuna steak is very suitable for beginners. Please buy sushi grade tuna and quickly cook the exterior and leave the interior rare. This will prevent the steak from becoming dry. You can offer some sauce with it, but I like to coat the steaks in toasted sesame seeds and then sear the steak at medium high, each side for 45 seconds. Salt and pepper and some olive oil are perfect coats before the steaks are coated by sesame seeds. But you can provide more Asian taste by marinating the steaks for 10 minutes in soy sauce and then drying them. Thereafter apply pepper (no salt needed), olive oil and sesame seeds. Be careful when searing at high temperatures as the sugars in the soy sauce will promote the Maillard reaction.
The art of making a pan-seared tuna steak
As always, quality and freshness of the fish is key. If you fork out money for tuna, let it be high quality. My fish monger will vacuum wrap the tuna steaks which will help to keep them fresh and well for another day in the fridge (I lowered the temperature to 2 C).
Try to create 1 inch thick steaks or sticks: this will help to keep the interior rare during pan-searing. More flavor comes from marinating the steak, from a coating that is provided or a sauce that is added. Keeping it simple often works the best: for high quality fish, sea salt and pepper are sufficient. Keep searing times short when your pan is hot, such as not to burn the exterior and not to cook the interior. But do experiment with other herb mixtures.
- thick bottomed skillet or grill pan
Pan-seared tuna with sesame seeds
- 1 1/3 lb (600 g) fresh tuna
- 1 oz sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
Preparing the tuna steaks
Cut the steaks in around 4 oz (100-125 g) pieces
Marinate them for 10 minutes in soy sauce, while turning now and then to expose all sides to the sauce
Meanwhile toast the sesame seeds in a skillet, without adding oil. Make them two shades darker. When they start to pop, pay attention to temper the heat somewhat while moving the seeds around
Dip the steaks dry on kitchen paper
Apply salt and pepper and coat the steaks with olive oil using a brush
Pan-searing the steaks
Let the prepared tuna steaks come to room temperature
Make a heavy bottomed skillet hot on the stove. You may also use a grill pan if you so prefer
Add the steaks and fry each side for 45 seconds
Be resolute and take the steaks out immediately after frying and serve
The steaks are wonderful without sauce, but If you so prefer, you can serve with a soy sauce spiked with mustard or wasabi, or serve with a bearnaise sauce
Method: pan frying
Food allergy & intolerance information: soy (can leave out), fish
- If you prefer a sauce to serve as well, think of a béarnaise sauce. If you like the interior extremely rare, you can also offer a mustard or wasabi based soy-sauce.