This seared tuna steak recipe is all you will need for perfectly seared sesame crusted tuna. This tuna steak only takes minutes to sear for perfectly done ahi tuna steaks.
This is the only tuna steak recipe you will ever need.
Choosing a Tuna Steak
There are different types of tuna and in most grocery stores you will find ahi tuna. This is the common yellowfin tuna or bigeye tuna.
Here in the Midwest, you will find it priced around $13.00 To $20.00 dollars a pound.
Fish markets may have a better grade of tuna that is wild-caught and a deep red color. Our local fish market has this more premium tuna at $40.00 a pound.
Bluefin tuna is the most costly tuna there is. It is the tuna which in Japan they sell for $200.00 a pound. Just one fish can be worth thousands of dollars.
I can only remember seeing bluefin tuna for sale one time in Minnesota. This was probably 40 years ago.
The market had a piece of tuna that was the prettiest reddish/purple color. At that time, the tuna was priced at $29.95. That would be a bargain today.
One additional thing to consider when buying your tuna. Choose a tuna steak that is at least 1 inch thick or more. Preferably 1 1/4 inches to 2 inches thick.
Thinner tuna steaks can easily be over-cooked and the flavorful tuna taste will not be there. A piece of raw fish that is 12 to 14-ounces is the perfect size for 2 people.
What is Sushi Grade Tuna?
Sushi grade or sashimi-grade tuna is fish that can be safely eaten raw. It is usually processed on the boat and flash frozen to prevent parasites.
Most grocery stores will indicate that the tuna is sushi grade. If not, ask if it is considered sushi grade. Although we are not going to be eating raw tuna, it will be quickly seared and be rare in the middle.
I’ve never had a problem with the tuna I have bought even though it wasn’t labeled sashimi or sushi-grade ahi tuna.
The best tuna will have a deep pink or red color. Lesser grades will look light pink and translucent and should be avoided.
Preparing the Tuna Steak
Getting your fresh tuna ready to sear is really easy. What I do first, is take the tuna out of the refrigerator about one hour prior to cooking.
This will allow the tuna to warm up a bit so the rare center is not cold after searing.
Place your tuna on a plate and pat it dry with a paper towel. Then drizzle on about a teaspoon of soy sauce and toasted sesame oil. Rub the liquids on both sides and ends so the seasonings will stick.
The simple ingredients I used are:
- Black sesame seeds
- White sesame seeds
- Italian seasoning
- Granulated garlic
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
Combine all these ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle the seasonings onto the raw tuna and press the seeds so they stick well. Coat all sides of the tuna steak.
A Guide to Perfectly Seared Tuna
The secret to perfectly seared tuna is using a smoking hot cast iron skillet. A heavy stainless steel skillet would work too.
You need to use a high smoke point oil for this. Peanut oil, avocado oil, or refined safflower oil are the best.
Canola oil and sesame oil are good also. They have a smoke point around 410°F and this is what I used. Olive oil should not be used as it has a low smoking point.
The oil will smoke when you sear your tuna, but it will only take 4 or 5 minutes of cooking time. If you have a vent fan you will definitely want to have that on
Add the oil to your skillet and bring the oil to smoking temperature. It will help if you have a laser thermometer to see how hot the skillet is getting.
Carefully place the tuna into the pan and sear the first side for 50 to 60 seconds.
Use a metal spatula and tongs to turn the steak to the other side and sear for 50 to 60 seconds. The sesame seeds should start to brown.
Use tongs to hold the tuna to sear the edges. Sear for about 30 seconds and keep turning to sear all the edges. The whole cooking process will only take 4 to 5 minutes.
Place the finished tuna steak on a plate or cutting board and tent it with foil. Keep the foil on for 3 to 5 minutes and the interior of the tuna will keep warming.
To slice the tuna, you need a sharp knife to avoid tearing the meat. The tuna will be quite delicate. If your knife can slice a piece of paper you should be good to go.
I used a filet knife which I rarely use, but keep it honed and as sharp as possible
Best Side Dishes For Ahi Tuna Steak
Asian-inspired side dishes are perfect with the tuna. Simple white rice with green onions and a bit of soy sauce and sesame oil are delicious with it.
A salad of greens with an Asian flavored vinaigrette would be nice.
My recipe for Pan Braised Baby Potatoes would be excellent.
Stir-fried vegetables with teriyaki sauce.
Oven browned broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, or asparagus.
And don’t forget a tasty dipping sauce like wasabi or horseradish sauce. And you may like a drizzle of fresh lemon juice or lime juice.
This delicious ahi tuna recipe will leave you with tender, flavorful, perfectly seared tuna.
The best part about ahi tuna is that you will have a healthy dinner with low carbs and lots of protein.
Sushi grade or sashimi grade tuna is safe to eat raw. Generally, any tuna that has been flash frozen is safe to eat. Tuna should have a slightly meaty smell. If it smells fishy it has gone bad and should not be eaten.
To sear means to quickly burn the surface using high heat.
It is best to use refined oil which has a higher smoke point. Canola oil is very good along with peanut, sunflower, and safflower oils. Don’t use olive oil. It has a low smoke point.
Seared tuna cooked like this will leave you with tender, flavorful perfectly cooked tuna.
Here Are Some More Tasty Recipes To Try:
- Cheesy tuna noodle casserole
- Cold tuna salad for hot summer nights
- Cheesy hot tuna sandwiches
- Lunchtime healthy tuna salad
- Grilled steak kabobs
Seared Tuna Steak Recipe
- 1 12 to 14 oz. ahi tuna steak
- 4 tsp. canola oil, divided
- 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil, divided
- 1 tsp. soy sauce
- 1.5 tbsp. black sesame seeds
- 1.5 tbsp. white sesame seeds
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. granulated garlic
- 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
- Take your tuna steak out of the refrigerator , unwrap it and place it on a plate at least one hour prior to cooking. This will allow it come close to room temperature.
- Pat the fish with paper towels to dry. Then use 1 teaspoon each of soy sauce and toasted sesame oil and coat the entire tuna steak.
- Mix the seeds, salt, pepper, granulated garlic, and Italian seasoning together in a small bowl. Sprinkle the seasoning mixture onto the tuna and coat both sides and all the edges. Press in the seeds to adhere well.
- Using a cast iron or heavy stainless skillet add 1 tablespoon canola oil and 1 teaspoon sesame oil and bring the oil to smoking temperature. Turn on your vent fan if you have one. Carefully place the tuna into the skillet and sear for 50 to 60 seconds.
- Then use a metal turner and tongs to gently flip the steak to the other side. Sear for 50 to 60 seconds. Then use a pair of tongs to hold the steak vertically to sear the edges. Sear all edges about 30 seconds.
- Place the finished steak on a plate or cutting board and tent it with foil for 3 to 5 minutes. The rare center will continue to heat up by doing this. Then to serve, use a very sharp knife to slice the tuna.Serve warm or at room temperature.
- You can use different seasonings for your tuna. Rather than using Italian seasoning, dried tarragon would be good too.
This recipe was fabulous times two! My husband and I are trying new healthy recipes and this is definitely a keeper. We especially loved the mix of sesame seeds and herbs and the early rub of soy sauce and sesame oil. Next time we are cooking for guests!
Thank you for the nice comment I’m glad you like the recipe…and I think I have to grab some tuna steaks soon also.
I get bluefin at work this time of year regularly. Lucky I know. This will be my first time trying this recipe I will keep you posted it looks awesome
I think you will like it. Thanks for the comment.
I make mine almost exactly like this. Instead of brushing with soy sauce and sesame oil, I brush with only sesame oil. I serve with a wasabi aioli and wasabi/garlic mashed potatoes. It’s one of our favorite meals!!!
Your mashed potato side dish sounds wonderful. Yes, tuna is a great meal that we don’t have often enough. Thank you for the comment.
This is such a flavorful and beautiful entre that doesnt take much effort. You should try it!