I had a delicious Seared Ahi Tuna the other night as an appetizer at a local restaurant and it inspired me to try to make it at home. I loved the sesame-soy vinaigrette dressing it was swimming in and thought I could make it a bit heartier if I served it with an avocado and cucumber salad on the side.
You've probably heard it referred to as "Tuna Tataki" which is is basically just the Japanese name for searing tuna. Tataki たたき meaning "pounded" or "hit into pieces" by searing fish very quickly over a hot flame, slicing it and marinating it in vinegar and "pounded" ginger. I don't pound my ginger but I do use a special Japanese grater that makes it into sort of a paste. This is great for lunch or dinner and if you add some miso soup, a salad and rice to it, voila - you have a meal that can satisfy anyone. Healthy and easy too.
1/8 cup minced ginger (about 1/3 of a medium sized ginger piece)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 tsp cracked black pepper
Kosher salt 1/2 pound very fresh, sushi-grade ahi tuna
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp soy sauce (preferably low-sodium)
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/2 green onion sliced thinly
1 tsp sugar
1 avocado - small cubes
1/2 cucumber - small cubes, seeds removed
Here's how I mince my ginger. I take the ginger, peel and all, and I use this Japanese grater that I found at a Japanese dollar store. They have one just like it on Amazon.
I normally freeze my ginger so that it's easier to grate but you can also just use it fresh from the refrigerator to achieve the same results. If you don't have a handy grater like this, you can use a microplane to do the same thing. Simply grate over a plate or if it comes with a plastic container attachment, use that.
1. On a shallow plate, mix together the ginger, sesame seeds, and cracked black pepper.
2. Cut the tuna into a nice long cubed rectangle. Sprinkle the tuna with kosher salt. Roll the tuna into the mixture to coat well.
3. Place a saute pan over high heat. Add sesame oil and sear the tuna on all sides, about 30 seconds per side. Watch closely so you don't cook it too much - you want a very thin layer cooked on all sides.
4. Remove the tuna from the pan and set aside.
5. To prepare the dressing, whisk the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar and sugar together.
6. Mix the avocado and cucumber together.
7. Slice the tuna into 1/4 inch thick pieces and pour 3/4 of the dressing over the top. Put the avocado and cucumber salad on the side and pour remaining dressing on top.
* For all of the favorite brands that I used in this recipe and others to put in your Japanese pantry, please go to my Fill your Japanese Pantry with my Faves post and get all the details.