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July 3, 2007 / Tony

Seared Sesame Tuna with Avocado Salsa

Tonight’s dinner was so good that I couldn’t wait to blog about it.  After an eye appointment, I went to the best local grocery store (Hornbacher’s, if you care) and tried to find a good piece of fish.  When I got there, I saw nice wild caught salmon and some good-looking tuna.  I had a dilemma on my hands but I eventually decided on the tuna-it was cheaper and it isn’t always that it looks good locally (it’s always frozen first and most of the time looks pretty poor). I then had to decide on a preparation method.  Whenever I get good tuna, I think of Alton Brown’s Chimney Tuna Loin which I’ve made before to very good effect.  So I started with the idea of marinating the tuna in soy sauce, honey, and a little bit of wasabi.  I would then coat in sesame seeds and cook over a very hot fire (actually, right over my charcoal chimney).  At that point, I had to figure out what else to do.  Rice was a natural side dish but the correct side to the tuna took a little imagination.  I then thought of how much I like spicy tuna rolls with avocado at Sushi restaurants.  So I came up with an impromptu avocado salsa in the grocery store.  I thought a mixture of diced avocado, minced jalapeno, diced onion, lime juice, minced cilantro, salt and pepper would work.  I was right.  The tuna came out beautifully rare with the smoky taste of the grill and the exceptional nutty taste of sesame seeds cooked over very high heat (if you haven’t had it, you don’t’ know what you’re missing).  The avocado salsa was creamy, spicy, and had just the right amount of crunch from the onions and the jalapeno.  Paired with the meaty and smoky tuna, it was incredible.  Each of the flavors-meaty, smoky, spicy, salty, sweet, creamy, crunchy, and nutty-came through being heightened by the lime juice and the cilantro.  It just came together so beautifully.  It was a perfect balance of competing flavors and textures.  I really can’t recommend it enough, especially with a drizzle of Sriracha.  Here’s an approximate recipe for what I did (and remember this is for one, scale accordingly):

Sesame Seared Tuna with Spicy Avocado Salsa

1 6 oz. tuna loin “steak”, preferably sashimi grade

2 T soy sauce (I use Natrukin brand)

2 T honey

dash wasabi paste

about 2 T sesame seeds

1 ripe avocado, large diced

¼ cup yellow onion, finely diced

2 T jalapeno, diced

½ lime, juiced

1 T finely chopped cilantro

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Mix soy sauce, honey, and wasabi in a small plastic bag.  Knead the bag to combine and then add the tuna.  Flip over a few times to coat and then put it in the refrigerator to marinate for at least an hour and up to twenty-four.  In the meantime, light a full chimney of coals (sorry, I can’t think of a way to do this on a gas grill).  Then mix the avocado, onion, jalapeno, lime juice, cilantro, Kosher salt and pepper.  Taste it  and adjust the seasonings until it you like it.  Set aside until needed. 

When the coals are all white, place your grill grate right on top of the chimney (don’t’ dump it out).  Oil slightly with a paper towel that has been slightly saturated with vegetable oil.  Take the tuna out of the fridge and dredge in the sesame seeds.  Place on the grill and watch it closely.  Once it cooks about 1/8 of an inch, flip it.  I turned it to the other side of the grate and simply moved the grate over so that part of the grate was over the fire.  Cook until that side of the tuna has cooked an 1/8 of an inch and take it off.  By now, the sesame seeds should be blackened.  Put it on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and let it sit for about 3 minutes.  After resting, slice the tuna against the grain into thin slice and top with the avocado salsa.  Top with a little bit of Sriracha.  Enjoy. 

Here’s a picture of my work:



One Comment

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  1. Katelyn / Jul 7 2007 1:06 am

    gorgeous plating.

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