Sesame-crusted Ahi

January 25, 2007 on 10:33 pm | By | In Recipes | Comments Off on Sesame-crusted Ahi

Ahi SaladI recently taught a private cooking class for a gentleman looking for new dinner ideas for his family. He’s the primary cook, and while he considers his skills to be intermediate, he felt he had tapped out all his culinary creativity. He was especially interested in quick and simple seafood recipes, particularly with an Asian flair. I immediately thought of sesame-crusted Ahi. Incredibly flavorful and nutritious, it can be on the table within minutes.

The key, of course, is to start with sashimi-grade Ahi (which is quite plentiful in Seattle), as you want to serve it raw. However, I was surprised to find that flash-frozen Ahi works very well. I picked up a 3/4 pound brick from Central Market, which I cut into 4 rectangular pieces. I like to marinate mine in a bit of soy sauce and wasabi, but only briefly as you don’t want the marinade to overpower the fish (15-20 minutes will suffice). I love the look of mixed black and white sesame seeds, but you could just use one color (you can find black sesame seeds in most Asian markets).

Coated AhiStart by coating the four long sides of the log. To ensure the fish won’t overcook, I’ll refrigerate the coated pieces for at least 30 minutes, but you can also stick it in the freezer for a few minutes if you’re in a hurry.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. I’ve found a nonstick works best, but you can also use a regular skillet. Brush the skillet lightly with oil (I typically use peanut as it has a high smoke point), then add your coated Ahi pieces. Be sure not to crowd them. You just want to sear them until the sesame seeds start to turn golden brown and adhere to the fish (30-45 seconds per side). Once all four sides have seared, place on a plate and stick in the freezer to stop the cooking. Continue with the remaining pieces.Seared Ahi

To serve, cut the fish into 1/2″squares. As an entrée, I’ll toss the pieces with some greens drizzled with an Asian vinaigrette. But I also like to serve them on Chinese soup spoons as an appetizer (two pieces per spoon), drizzled with wasabi cream. Enjoy!

Sesame-Crusted Ahi Salad
Two entrée servings

3/4 pound sashimi-grade Ahi tuna, cut into rectangular pieces
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Wasabi, to taste
Black & white sesame seeds, for coating
Peanut oil, for searing

Asian Vinaigrette
(note: I don’t measure my ingredients when preparing the vinaigrette; I just mix everything together until it tastes the way I like!)

Rice wine vinegar
Soy sauce
Sesame oil
Peanut oil
Nori flakes
Salt, to taste

Whisk ingredients together and toss with wild greens (or lettuce of choice). Top with Ahi pieces and serve.

As an appetizer:

Ahi Appetizer

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