Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna

I've said it before and I'll say it again: there's nothing quite like fresh fish. And when it's fresh, the simplest preparation will suffice. Yellowfin tuna, also known as ahi, demonstrates this principle perfectly. With just the barest minimum of preparation, the flavor of a fresh piece of ahi is sublime. Its ubiquity and popularity in sushi restaurants is a testament to how good ahi can taste served rare. In other words, less is more. 

Today's recipe is for sesame seared ahi tuna. You start out with fresh tuna steaks, preferably never frozen. Don't skimp on the quality, since the tuna is served rare. The fish is then lightly marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, mirin, honey, and sesame oil. Sweet, sour, salty, and sesame - if you will. The marinade, which also serves as a dipping sauce, is just enough to bring out and highlight the intrinsic yumminess of rare tuna. 

The fish is then given a generous coating of sesame seeds before being cooked. And when I say cooked, I don't really mean cooked. You really just want to sear the ahi, leaving the middle quite rare. What you get is a wonderful contrast of textures, with the buttery smooth interior juxtaposed with the sesame crusted exterior. Just a dab of wasabi brings the right amount of heat to heighten the already fantastic flavors.

This is the kind of recipe that hits all the right notes: fresh, flavorful, and most importantly, simple. It's a staple in my kitchen. Give it a shot, and it might just become one in yours too!