The perfect seared ahi tuna recipe with crunchy sesame crust, a delightfully playful wasabi mayo and a mirin ginger dipping sauce. The best part of this recipe is looking through the translucent pink, stained glass window-like tuna after it has been seared and sliced. So beautiful it almost makes you not want to eat it… Almost.
This seared ahi tuna recipe is: Gluten Free, Paleo and Low Carb.
Seared Ahi Tuna Recipe with Wasabi Mayo & Mirin Dipping Sauce
I first fell in love with seared tuna with a sesame seed crust in Nantucket. Caroline and I were there with her brother, some friends and a beautiful, fresh caught piece of tuna. I remember clearly that the tuna was ruby red and perfect. Our friends pulled out some sesame seeds, wasabi and soy sauce. Within minutes, we were eating a mind blowing, simple and delicious appetizer. This is the same recipe that I would like to share with you today. I hope that you enjoy it as much as we did.
Buying Ahi Tuna
One of the reasons I don’t make this recipe very often is due to limited supply. It seems as though the tuna in the seafood cases just don’t excite me, particularly with their extreme price tag. Recently, I purchased some from friends of mine over at Red Ribbon Meats (not a paid endorsement, they just have wonderful products!). Not only do they deliver for free in Cleveland, but the tuna is exceptional at a very good price. If you’re in Cleveland, be sure to order a couple pounds of their Ahi. Just perfect.
When buying Ahi, you will either be buying yellowfin, bluefin or big eye tuna. They all fall under the Ahi category. What you are looking for is freshness. Ask the butcher or fishmonger when the fish arrived, if it was fresh or frozen. If it was frozen, ask when it was defrosted. Make sure that you can smell it before you buy it as well. If it smells fishy, don’t buy it. If it is slimy, don’t buy it. It should be fresh looking with a nice sheen to the steak. My one piece of advice: never buy Ahi on sale. You are looking for freshness because you’re not going to be cooking it all the way through!
Powdered Wasabi & Store Bought Ginger
At our house, we have powdered wasabi in the spice cabinet. It lasts forever and is so easy to mix up. One part powdered wasabi to one part water. Within 15 seconds, you have a beautiful wasabi paste. Typically you need to look in the Asian section of the grocery store rather than the spice section to find powdered wasabi.
I love pickled ginger. The good news is that the pickled ginger you find in the grocery store will be perfect for this recipe. I use it two ways in this recipe. First, the sliced ginger resets your palette from the bites of tuna… essentially resetting your tongue between bites to enjoy the deliciousness of the tuna over and over again. So good. Next, we use some of the juice from the jar of pickled ginger in the dipping sauce. It really adds a wonderful component to the sauce.
QUICK COOKING TIP: If you take a look at the first picture of the raw ahi tuna below, you will notice that the steak is not rectangular. In the second, it is. I trimmed the tuna to make it rectangular which allows for even and easy searing. The extra pieces which were trimmed off were also rolled in sesame seeds and seared, but for less time than the larger steaks.
Let’s take a look at this delicious seared ahi tuna recipe.
- 1/2 Cup Mayonnaise store bought works fine
- 2 TBSP Heavy Cream
- 2-3 TSP Wasabi Powder depending on how spicy you like
- 1/2 TSP Braggs Liquid Aminos Or soy sauce
- 1/2 TSP Honey
- 1/4 Cup Braggs Liquid Aminos Or soy sauce
- 1 TBSP Sesame Oil
- 1 TBSP Mirin Sweet Wine
- 1 TBSP Rice Wine Vinegar
- 1 TBSP Pickled Ginger Juice
- 1 TSP Raw Honey
- 1 TSP Minced Green Onion
- 1 LB Sushi Grade Ahi Tuna
- 2 TBSP White Sesame Seeds
- 2 TBSP Black Sesame Seeds
- 3 TBSP Olive or Grapeseed Oil
- Add all ingredients to a bowl. Mix well with a fork to incorporate. If you have a squeeze bottle, pour into the bottle and decorate the plate.
- Add all ingredients to a bowl. Mix well with a fork to incorporate. Set aside.
- Mix the sesame seeds on a plate. Lay the tuna on the seeds and press. Repeat on all sides including the ends.
- Heat a heavy bottom, stainless steel pan over high heat. Add the oil. When it is shimmering, but not yet smoking, carefully add in the sesame crusted tuna.
- Cook on each side for 20-30 seconds. When you flip, make sure you flip to a section of the pan that wasn't just cooked on. It will be hotter and create a nice crunchy sear. Make sure to sear the ends as well!
- Remove from the heat and slice in 1/4" slices. Serve with the Wasabi Mayo, Mirin Dipping Sauce and some pickled ginger. Enjoy!
Final thoughts on the seared ahi tuna recipe:
Caroline told me when I recently made this recipe that we could eat this once a week, every week. That’s a huge endorsement around my house. I have to say that this recipe has a lot going for it. It is beautiful, which is a great place to start. The earthy crunch of the sesame seeds marries perfectly with the spicy goodness of the wasabi mayo. Then when you add in the salty sweetness of the mirin dipping sauce, it equates to sensory overload. Which I love. So good.
You could make the seared ahi tuna recipe as an appetizer to be shared with friends or it would be a perfect lunch or dinner all on its own. Whatever your plans are, they should include this recipe. You are going to love it.