Seared Tuna with Sesame, Bok Choy and Vegetable Stir Fry
Here’s a simple seared tuna recipe that requires only a few ingredients. While it may look complicated, this was created in five minutes, and is easy for the home cook to prepare as it is for a pro. This is the only way that you can get a restaurant quality, organic meal for $5.00 per serving: by making it at home!
While a torch isn’t necessary for this recipe, I like to add a bit of color to the sides of the piece of tuna that weren’t seared in the pan by a quick sear with the hand torch after the tuna is finished. Most people know this tool as a “creme brulee torch” but it can be used for just about anything that requires a quick blast of fire, such as putting the finishing touches on roast meats, chicken, desserts that need a bit of a color/contrast boost.
This is the one that I like to use: Found on Amazon and pretty darn cheap for such a fun, diverse little tool.
Most of my friends prefer their tuna on the rare side, but there is always one in the group who doesn’t like to see any red in meat or fish. A quick blast to tuna with a torch after it’s sliced will ensure that those who like their fish completely cooked can have it that way.
I like to shop by finding the freshest ingredients and not by having a set plan. (Like this recipe for tuna poke). Check out your local farmer’s market and look around to see what’s fresh and local and then prepare your meal from that starting point. You’ll find great deals at your local supermarket too, when fish is in season.
Here is some comprehensive information about yellowfin tuna (aka “ahi”) , as sometimes it’s hard to figure out what kind of tuna you’re actually eating. Most canned tuna is skipjack tuna, and ahi is either yellowfin or bigeye. If you are concerned about the sustainability of yellowfin, you can find that information here as well. According to NOAA, (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), here is the basic nutritional information for yellowfin tuna:
Yellowfin tuna is low in saturated fat and sodium and is a very good source of protein, thiamin, selenium, vitamin B6, and omega-3s. High in lean protein.
PRICE: Just under 5.00 per serving, for the entire meal, using all wild, fresh and organic ingredients.
Most meats and fowl are fine after they’ve been frozen, but fish takes on a different texture and taste if it’s been previously frozen. You can tell when you’re eating wild salmon, for example, if it’s not in season that it’s been frozen because the “grain” in the fish will appear to separate and it won’t be as firm once it’s thawed. There can also be an odor that’s sometimes fishy, and sometimes just slightly off-putting.
If I know that I don’t want to freeze tuna, I’ll grill it and make a tuna salad that can be eaten the next day.
Here are the ingredients for the stir-fry:
…and here is the tuna after it’s coated with mustard and sesame seeds, (or Gomasio). When buying tuna that’s already cut into large fillets from the loin, I trim the sinewy corners and reserve that to make tuna salad with as I find the texture to be too tough for a delicate recipe like this one. I then trim the piece of tuna to create two equal pieces.
The photo below is two pieces cut from a large slice of tuna from the loin, totalling 3/4 pound. This recipe made enough for three full servings or six first course servings for the cost of just under 5.00 a serving for the entire meal.
For this recipe, you’ll need a cast iron pan, the optional torch, and a large stainless saute pan or a wok. I use Dijon mustard to help the sesame seeds adhere to the tuna but you you could also use cooking oil or even eliminate them and sprinkle on the fish after searing.
Note: If you’d like to beef this up with more veggies for larger portions, add 3 celery stalks, sliced on the diagonal and a handful of broccoli florets to the veggie saute mixture.
- ¾ pound yellowfin, ahi or bigeye tuna, trimmed of sinew and cut into 2 equal pieces
- Dijon mustard for coating
- Avocado or olive oil for searing
- sesame seeds and sea salt or Gomasio(store-bought version)
- 2 large baby bok choy heads, outer leaves washed and separated, inner hearts reserved for roasting
- 2 or 3 large Swiss chard leaves
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1 large red bell pepper
- 1 inch piece of peeled ginger
- 1 lemon
- juice of 1 lemon, 1 lime
- ¼ cup tamari
- ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 T. agave or honey
- 1 finely chopped scallion
- Garnish: radish micro greens(pictured) or sprouts
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees with cast iron pan inside. Coat tuna pieces with mustard or cooking oil and roll in sesame seed mixture. Cut the 2 bok choy hearts in half and drizzle with cooking oil and sea salt.
- When oven and pan is preheated, drizzle cooking oil in hot pan and place tuna pieces and bok choy hearts in pan, setting timer to 2.5 minutes.
- While tuna is cooking on the first side, mince garlic and ginger and add to stainless pan with a small amount of cooking oil on medium heat, then slice red pepper and saute briefly.
- Whisk sauce ingredients in small bowl and set aside.
- When timer is complete, turn fish and bok choy hearts in oven to cook on other side, setting timer for an additional 2.5 minutes. (this is for medium rare tuna)
- Julienne large bok choy leaves and Swiss chard leaves, adding to stainless pan during last minute of cooking to saute briefly while keeping all vegetables crisp.
- To serve: Place warm veggies on plate and sprinkle with fresh squeezed lemon juice. Torch tuna on sides that have not been seared, if desired, for color. Slice tuna carefully. placing atop veggies with a side dish for the dipping sauce. Place one or two of the roast bok choy heart halves next to tuna. Top with radish sprouts or micro greens for garnish.
.53 red pepper
.65 bok choy
.30 micro greens
Total approximate price per serving: 4.98