When my husband and I were newly married, the only tuna that ever came into our home was in a can. And, it was always turned into tuna salad for sandwiches. Years later I discovered fresh tuna steaks at the supermarket fish counter. Yes, they were on the expensive side, but they were delicious and could be cooked quickly and served with a simple sauce or mayonnaise. My spouse, who thinks all (well most all) fish should be fried didn’t embrace fresh tuna as enthusiastically as I did. That is not until I served him the grilled tuna steaks with the delicious dipping sauce featured here.
Our son, Mike, a talented and creative cook, shared his recipe with me. Made with good quality tuna such as Ahi, the steaks are coated on both sides with toasted sesame seeds and then cooked in a stove top grill pan or seared in a skillet for about 6 minutes. What makes this fish dish so special, though, is the dipping sauce prepared with soy sauce, rice vinegar, a hint of sugar, and some red pepper flakes.
I garnished each serving with a spoonful or two of sauce, added a sprinkle of sliced scallions, and offered the remaining sauce in individual little ramekins for dipping. My husband loved the sauce’s bold flavors–salty, sweet, hot, and acidic—paired with the tuna. Some saffron rice and blanched sugar snaps completed our 30-minute summer supper!
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Grilled Tuna Steaks with Sesame, Scallions, and Dipping Sauce
3 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
Scant 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Tuna Steaks and Garnishes
2 tuna steaks (good quality such as Ahi or Yellow Fin-not albacore) about 1-inch thick and 5 to 6 ounces each
Canola oil for grill pan or skillet
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
2 green onions including 1 inch of green stems, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1.For the sauce, combine all ingredients in a medium glass or nonreactive mixing bowl and set aside.
2. Pat the steaks dry with paper towels, and press each side of both steaks with sesame seeds.
3. Oil a stove top grill pan and set it over medium high heat until quite hot. (You can also use a large, heavy skillet; coat the bottom with canola oil, and heat until oil is quite hot.) Add tuna, and cook only 2 to 3 minutes per side for steaks that are rare in the center with a reddish pink line going through the middle of each steak . When done sprinkle them with salt.
4. To serve drizzle steaks with 1 tablespoon of sauce and sprinkle with green onions. Divide remaining sauce among 2 small ramekins to use for dipping. Serves 2
Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2021