Last week we started the new, Hawaiian Series by illustrating a very easy snack. The dish for this week is a little more layered and sophisticated, but still something that you can pull off easily for a last minute dinner: Sesame Seared Tuna (with wasabi dressing). The inspiration came from Pacific’O, a local restaurant in Lahaina, Maui, where they offer an amazing menu with only ingredients grown at the local O’o Farm. Among the simplest yet more interesting dishes is the Sesame Seared Fresh Fish (Pacific’O Original) with island salad greens, wasabi sesame dressing and rice.
You can pick your favorite fish, as long as it is fresh, but in order to stick to the Hawaiian theme, we recommend using tuna, which is the most important fish in the Hawaiian cuisine. Tuna has become so popular since in ancient times it was salted, dried and brought on long journeys due to its long conservation. A sesame seed crust gives that fully, savory little crunch that contrast so well with the softness of the fish. Sesame is also a great source for Omega 6 acids and proteins.
Although Sesame Seared Tuna is a healthy, tasty dish as it is, it’s the wasabi sesame dressing that enhances and enriches the flavor of the dish. Together with sesame oil and rice wine vinegar, wasabi is the ingredient that strikes one’s palate because of its mustardy, peppery taste which complements the delicacy of tuna and sesame.
Sesame Seared Tuna can be served with greens and rice, and it takes less than 30 minutes to prepare. This makes it the perfect dish all year long: it can be a quick, savory lunch, or a simple, sophisticated dinner accompanied by a glass of wine.
For the fish:
1/4 cup Black sesame seeds
1/2 cup White sesame seeds
4 (about 6 oz) Ahi tuna steaks, about 1″ thick
Fresh ground pepper
2 tbsp canola oil
For the wasabi dressing (served 4):
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp wasabi paste
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
Combine the black sesame seeds and the white sesame seeds in a shallow dish. Stir them until they are completely mixed.
Season the tuna with salt and pepper and coat it with sesame seeds by placing it in the shallow dish first on one side and on then on the other.
In the meantime mix the soy sauce and vinegar in a bowl. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Add sesame oil and wasab. Wisk it until homogeneous.
Warm up a non stick pan until smoking. Arrange the tuna in the pan and cook both sides until the sesame seeds start turning gold, but do not overcook it (about 1 minute each side). Repeat for all the other 3 tuna steaks.
Serve the tuna on top of a green salad and pour the wasabi dressing on top of both. If served with a side of steamed rice it will make a complete meal.