gluten-free, mains, salads, seafood

sesame crusted seared tuna + cilantro, ginger, avocado salad

I think you might need this one in your repertoire.  It's fast, healthy, beautiful and totally delicious.  I love the clean, bright flavors of Japanese cooking and feel that this is a pretty good representation of just that.

The key, with all food really, is to use the best possible ingredients.  Everything in this recipe is eaten raw or nearly raw, so there is no where to hide.  Get your sushi grade tuna from a reliable fishmonger and don't even (or ever) think about compromising.

I like to serve the tuna with seasoned sushi rice and time-saving store bought shrimp shumai.  I usually line the steamer with red cabbage for a prettier presentation but it's not necessary.  I also like to line the serving platter for the tuna with thinly sliced cabbage.  It looks lovely and also adds a little texture and a break from the saltiness of the dipping sauce.

sesame crusted seared tuna + cilantro, ginger, avocado salad

serves 4

Time: about 10 minutes for the dressing and salad prep, 5 minutes for the dipping sauce, 5 minutes to cook, 5 minutes to slice and plate the tuna, finish the rice.  25-30 minutes door to table.

1 1/2 lbs sushi-grade yellowfin tuna

1/4 c black sesame seeds

grapeseed or other neutral oil like canola

for garnish:

red or napa cabbage, thinly sliced

scallions, sliced

for the dipping sauce:

1/4 c tamari

1 T mirin

1 T honey

2 T  toasted sesame oil

1 t grated ginger

1 1/2 T sushi vinegar

for the dressing:

juice of two limes

1 bird chili, finely sliced

1 clove of garlic, grated (use a microplane if you have)

1 T grated ginger

1 T mirin

1-2 T tamari

2 T toasted sesame oil

1/4 c grapeseed or other neutral oil

for the salad:

a handful of cilantro leaves

1 avocado, sliced

1/8 c candied ginger, thinly sliced into ribbons

6-7 c mixed spring salad greens

Start your rice.

Mix together all of the ingredients for the dressing and set aside.

Mix together all of the ingredients for the dipping sauce except the rice vinegar.  Divide the mixture in half.  Add the vinegar to one half and reserve for the dipping sauce. Use the other half to dip the tuna in before coating with sesame seeds.

Line your steamer with a red cabage leaf and set up the shumai.


Heat a cast iron or non-stick pan coated with oil just to the point of smoking.

Line a flat plate with the sesame seeds. Dip the tuna steaks in the sauce and gently press the seeds into each side.

Sear the tuna for about 2 minutes on each side or to your liking.  Two minutes for steaks that are about 1 1/4-1/2" thick will be to about as shown in the photos.

Please try NOT to cook it all the way through because you will lose a significant amount of flavor.

Let the tuna rest for a few minutes on your cutting board while you toss together the salad, season the rice and plate the shumai.

Slice and serve with the reserved dipping sauce, garish with scallions if you like.