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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Lime-Pepper Seared Tuna

This was our second recipe tonight using fresh tuna steaks and I loved the results.  This Lime-Pepper Seared Tuna lets the taste of the tuna shine through while adding a fresh citrus and peppery flavor. I am a huge fan of anything citrus so this recipe was an instant favorite for me.  The other recipe we made, Tuna Steak with Tapenade Coating, was also delicious and you can find it HERE.

If you've never cooked fresh tuna before it's very easy, but the one thing you don't want to do is overcook the steaks, which makes the fish dry and tough.  By cooking to a rare or medium-rare finish, the fish is moist and buttery inside, while the outside coating delivers an extra boost of flavor.  If you are a fan of sushi, you are going to love this tuna.

The simplest way to cook tuna is with a coating of kosher salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper.  Plain and simple, yes, but this allows you to really taste the fish.  With this recipe you get the simplicity of salt, pepper and lime with the added nutty flavor and a bit of crunch from black sesame seeds.  (The sesame seeds can be found in the Asian section at most grocery stores.)

For this recipe we used a single tuna steak that was about 3/4 of a pound, but you can also use use smaller fillets.  By using the one steak it was easy to achieve that nice rare center and we just sliced the steak into portions so everyone could try both recipes.  There will be enough coating in this for 1 pound of tuna.

3/4 to 1 lb  Fresh Tuna Steaks (keep the tuna chilled until ready to cook)
Zest of 1 Lime  (cut the remaining lime into wedges and serve on the side)
1 tsp  Dried Thyme
3/4 tsp  Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1/2 tsp  Kosher Salt
1 TB  Black Sesame Seeds
2 tsp  Olive Oil
Olive oil for Frying

In a small bowl combine the lime zest, thyme, pepper, salt, sesame seeds and 2 teaspoons olive oil and stir to blend.

Rinse the tuna steaks and pat dry with paper towels.  Set aside.

Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat and add a swirl of olive oil to the pan. Once the oil begins to heat, rub the coating mixture onto both sides and the edges of the tuna steaks, lightly pressing the mixture into the fish.  Place the fillets in the skillet and cook for 1 -1/2 to 2 minutes or until cooked about 1-1/4-inch through.  Turn the fish over and cook for another 1-1/2 to 2 minutes.  (The cook times will depend on the thickness of the fish.  For thicker fillets go with the 2 minutes per side.)

Serve immediately with baked clam shells and lime wedges on the side.  Enjoy!!

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