Thursday, May 10, 2012

Seared Tuna with Ginger Cilantro Sauce

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Seared tuna with ginger cilantro sauce!

This tender tuna is drizzled with one of my all-time favorite sauces - a medley of ginger, shallots, lime, cilantro and soy sauce. I like the sauce so much, I could eat it alone like a soup! Whether served on a bed or rice or salad greens, this tuna is a healthy dish that doesn't shy away from making a big flavor impact.

I adapted this Japanese-inspired recipe from a recipe in Cooking in High Cotton, a Cotton Country cookbook published by the Junior League of Monroe, Louisiana (which is surprising - this is not a Southern recipe, lol!). This recipe serves two, and if you have any sauce left over, you can use it as a salad dressing the next day :).

Here's what you'll need:

For the sauce:
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions (also known as spring onions or scallions)
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice (this is about one large juicy lime - don't use the bottled stuff)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbs honey
  • 2 tsp black pepper
For the tuna:
  • 1 Tbs ginger paste
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • a pinch of salt
  • 3 Tbs oil (for searing the tuna)
  • 1 lb ahi tuna steak (*sushi grade if you plan to sear it and eat it rare! If you are going to cook it more (not as tasty or tender) it's ok to buy regular ahi tuna.)


1. To make the sauce, combine the cilantro, shallots, ginger, lime juice, soy sauce, honey, green onions, olive oil and pepper in a bowl. Stir well and let it sit while you prepare the tuna. You can also make this sauce ahead of time and refrigerate it - the longer it sits, the better the flavors combine :).

2. Mix the sesame seeds, cayenne pepper, black pepper and ginger into a paste on a plate. Pat the tuna dry with a paper towel; excess moisture will make the hot oil pop badly. Sprinkle the tuna with a pinch of salt and roll it in the sesame seed-ginger mixture. You may need to press the sesame-ginger paste on with your hands to make it stick. Make sure both sides of each tuna steak are covered.
3. Heat oil on high heat in a skillet. When it's hot, place the tuna in the skillet and sear it for one to two minutes on each side (depending on how rare you like it). If you do not have sushi grade tuna, you'll need to cook it longer, so turn down the heat to medium and cook it for about 4 minutes per side, making sure the center is hot (but not overcooked - overcooked tuna is dry and horrible!).
4. This is delicious served with a side of hot rice and salad. Top everything with the sauce! If you want to serve this on top of a salad like I did in the photo, slice the tuna steak and place it on a bed of mixed greens with tomatoes and sliced red onions.

This recipe was adpated from the "Seared Tuna with Fresh Ginger Dipping Sauce" recipe on page 103 of Cooking in High Cotton.


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