Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Pan-Seared Tuna with Stir-Fried Vegetables

Vibrantly colored, fresh ahi (yellowfin) tuna steaks are as meaty as a juicy rib-eye. Well, almost. And as with any good cut of beef, overcooking is nothing short of a sin. Also like a beef steak, a thick cut of ahi benefits most from a quick sear at a high temperature with only a brush of oil. Cast-iron is your best friend for this preparation.

Ahi Tuna Steaks
For this recipe, I went with a combination of Thai, Japanese, and Chinese flavors and ingredients. The simple vegetables need only a quick stir-fry and an aromatic sauce to complement the tender tuna with mildly sweet-and-sour flavor. After a 20-minute marinade for the tuna, this dinner is on the table in less than 10 minutes.

Note: There is no added salt in this recipe. Plenty in the sauce ingredients!

Serves 2

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce, divided
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce, divided
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 5-oz ahi tuna steaks, about 1 inch thick
  • 2 tsp sake or dry sherry
  • 2 tsp light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp fresh lime juice
  • peanut oil, for brushing, plus 1 tbsp
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 small piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 very small zucchini, cut into short matchsticks
  • 1 small stalk of baby bok choy, chopped (including leaves)
Stir-Fry Vegetables, Ginger, and Garlic 
Prepped Stir-Fry Mixture
  1. Combine 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of fish sauce in a sealable plastic bag and season with black pepper. Add the tuna steaks, seal the bag, and turn several times to coat the fish. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes.
Marinating Tuna
  1. Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of fish sauce, sake, sugar, vinegar, and lime juice in a bowl. Stir well to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Heat a cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat and brush with peanut oil.
  3. Remove the tuna steaks from the marinade, letting excess drip off. Sear until slightly charred on the bottom, 3-4 minutes. Turn and sear 2-3 minutes longer, until slightly charred on the other side and pink in the middle for medium-rare.
Tuna Beginning to Sear
Tuna after Turning 
Pan-Seared Tuna
  1. Meanwhile, heat a wok or deep skillet over medium-high heat and add the peanut oil, swirling to coat. Add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry 30 seconds.
  2. Add the mushrooms, zucchini, and bok choy and stir-fry 2 minutes.
  3. Add the reserved sauce and cook until hot throughout, 2 minutes.
Ginger and Garlic 
Vegetables Beginning to Stir-Fry 
Vegetables with Sauce
Plate the tuna steaks and spoon the vegetable mixture overtop and alongside. Spoon sauce from the wok over all and serve right away.

Pan-Seared Tuna with Stir-Fried Vegetables

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