Seared Ahi Tuna

I have never been much of a fish eater. I love the idea of fish, but I've long struggled with the taste which means I'm often left with cod or tilapia. Don't get me wrong, these fish taste fine and even great depending on how they are cooked. But they aren't the star of their own show. They also have less health benefits versus the fish  higher in omegas, which makes sense since that "fishy-taste" is generally due to oils/fats found in them.

This is what I love about ahi tuna. It is fresh tasting, light and takes on other flavors well while remaining the star of the dish. I recently found a restaurant that serves tuna tartare in my area. I could literally eat this for lunch every single day. And if you didn't get enough healthy fat in the tuna, they throw on some avocado for creaminess and tobiko for a slight salty taste.

Because of this dish, I've been unhealthily obsessed with tuna for the past few weeks. I finally tracked some fresh yellowfin steaks down in my local grocery store. I swooped up 2 pounds worth (which admittedly is a little excessive) and took them home. I had a friend coming, so I figured it would be a great time to try a new recipe.

Since this came from a grocery store in the Midwest rather than a fish market on the coast, I was hesitant to try a tartare. I'm all for experimenting, but I prefer not to give my house guests food poisoning. I decided to at least sear the fish (which still leaves most of it raw, argument loses most of its relevance, but it made sense to me at the time). 

Anyway, the results were successful. This dish was fast (great for busy schedules!), easy to make, healthy and most importantly, delicious. I was able to get my tuna fix and try a new recipe that I can share. This is a great dish for anytime of the year, but will be fantastic for summer and for those of you celebrating lent!


  • Ahi tuna steaks (about six ounces each)
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, minced or grated
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • Dash of rice wine vinegar (about 1-2 teaspoons)
  • Honey (about 1-2 teaspoons) or sugar to taste
  • Cilantro (optional)
  • Jalapenos (optional) - I didn't have any, so I used red pepper flakes for heat and it worked well
  • 1 avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced/diced
  • Shredded cabbage and carrots for serving

Mix ginger, lime juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, sugar/honey and red pepper flakes (and cilantro and jalapeno if available/desired).  Season with salt and pepper. Make sure to taste and ensure the balance is to your liking. If you feel the sesame flavor is a bit overpowering (as it can be), I suggest adding a dash of rice wine vinegar to balance this. Set aside. 

Heat a skillet with 1-2 tablespoons of sesame oil (I used cast iron to get that really good sear) over medium-high heat. You can use olive oil, but per my last post on Chicken Potstickers, I feel sesame oil adds to the flavor. Pat the tuna steaks with a paper towel to ensure they are dry. Season the tuna steaks on either side with salt and pepper, going a little heavier on the pepper so it creates a slight crust when seared. Sear the tuna steaks for 60 to 90 seconds per side, just enough to create a crust. Told you this was fast!

Let the tuna rest about 10 minutes. Serve the tuna steak either whole or sliced. If sliced, cut across the grain. Slicing across the grain ensures muscle fibers running through the fish are shortened, ensuring you a tender bite. Make sure to pay attention, in some cuts of tuna steak, the grain direction will change partway through. 

Serve with sides of your choice, I chose avocado, cabbage and carrots to marry these flavors and provide some texture (creamy and crunchy) and freshness. Pour the dressing you made over the tuna. 

Annndddd drool. (Enjoy!)

Ashley McCormickComment