How to Make Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna

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The red flesh of seared ahi tuna gives this dish a beautiful presentation.
The red flesh of seared ahi tuna gives this dish a beautiful presentation. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

A seared yellowfin, or ahi, tuna fillet is a rich main dish to serve for a romantic dinner or to special guests. In this recipe, the tuna is encrusted in sesame seeds first, which gives the fish a nutty flavor and slightly crunchy outer shell that balances well with the texture of the fish. Seared ahi tuna may be served rare, depending on your preference. For a more rare tuna steak, use a thicker piece of fish; if you want your seared ahi tuna more well-done, use a thinner tuna steak and cook it a bit longer. A modification of this recipe is to serve thin slices of the seared tuna over a bed of fresh field greens.

Things You'll Need

  • 1/2 cup white sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup black sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp. light cooking oil, such as canola, sesame or grapeseed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 ahi tuna steaks, 1 inch thick
  • Mixing bowl
  • Non-stick frying pan
  • Spatula
  • Cutting board
  • Steak knife

Mix together the two colors of sesame seeds in the mixing bowl.

Sprinkle salt and pepper lightly onto the ahi steaks. Coat them in sesame seeds by laying the steaks in the bowl and flipping them over to coat both sides until thoroughly covered.

Place a frying pan on medium high heat and add cooking oil to the frying pan. Canola, sesame or grapeseed oils all work well with this recipe. The oil should be hot but not smoking. Test the temperature of the oil by dropping a small amount of water into the heated oil. If it sizzles and immediately turns to steam, the oil is hot enough.

Lay the coated tuna steaks in the pan. Cook until the sesame seeds are lightly browned. Flip the fish with the spatula to cook the other side until it is also browned.

Place the cooked fillets on the cutting board and cut them into 1-inch slices with the steak knife and serve.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can marinate the ahi before you coat it in sesame seeds.
  • You can make a sauce to be drizzled over the ahi or a dipping sauce to be served on the side.
  • Do not overcook fish because it will make the texture rubbery.

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