Hot weather food
The temperature here hit somewhere between 100 and 102 today, depending on which weather site you believe. All I know is it was hot enough to keep me indoors all day, half wishing I hadn’t set that lovely piece of Pacific albacore to thaw in the fridge last night, because I could just as easily have dined on salad and fresh blueberries.
But thawed it was. I’d originally planned to grill it, but by dinner time it was still too hot to mess with charcoal. So I chose a recipe that requires no thought, virtually no prep and under five minutes at the stove.
If you’ve never tried tuna rare, you should. Tender and meaty, hot on the outside and meltingly warm at the core, it’s absolutely delicious. The trick is getting the best possible tuna, and that’s not hard to do in Oregon. Albacore season runs from April through October, and modern fishing practices include shipboard freezing that results in fish that’s “fresher” than much of what’s sold as fresh in the supermarket.
If you’re worried about mercury in tuna, troll-caught albacore is a good choice. Troll-caught fisher are much smaller – and younger – than the large fish that typically go into canned tuna, and thus have had less time to absorb mercury; tests have shown that troll-caught fish are low in this toxic compound.
Pan-seared, sesame-crusted tuna
- Thick albacore or ahi tuna steaks, fresh or thawed
- 2 Tbsp oil
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 1 Tbps black sesame seeds
- 1 Tbps white sesame seeds
Place the tuna steaks in a plastic bag with 1 Tbsp oil and the lime juice; seal bag and turn several times to coat the fish.
Mix sesame seeds in a shallow bowl or saucer
Heat the remaining 1 Tbsp oil in a skillet or grill pan over medium heat.
Remove tuna from bag and press into the sesame seeds, covering all sides
Cook in skillet for a scant 2 minutes per side. Fish will be rare and pink in the middle; you can cook it longer if you prefer your fish done through, but it won’t be as good.
Serve with a dollop of wasabi mayonnaise and a light salad. Mine was a mix of locally grown lettuce and arugula topped with heirloom tomatoes and sliced, grilled miniature eggplants from my garden, dressed with nothing more than a little sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Fantastic, and almost effortless.