Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sesame-Sriracha Crusted Ahi Tuna

My brother recently told me about this small cookbook that is entirely dedicated to dishes with Sriracha - as in each and every recipe tell you how to get this hot and spicy sauce into every type of food.

How to add spice to EVERY dish
Nick decided to take the first stab at the spice and went with the cover dish - sesame-Sriracha crusted ahi tuna. 

The necessities...

2 tablespoons of Sriracha
1-1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup white sesame seeds, lightly toasted
1/2 cup black sesame seeds, lightly toasted
2-1/2 pounds of sushi-grade ahi tuna loin
Steamed rice and/or steamed veggies to serve
Sliced green onions for garnish - green part only

Nick was able to find some great sushi-grade tuna at Savenor's Market on Charles - a bit expensive, but when dealing with semi-raw fish you do not really want to mess around.

Nice tuna steaks
In a large mixing bowl Nick added the sesame oil and the Sriracha and mixed it together. 

Up close with Sriarcha
Once mixed, Nick placed the tuna in the bowl and covered each side of the tune with the mixture. 

Tuna smothered in Sriracha
One a plate, Nick spread out the sesame seeds. 

Ready to coat the tuna
While the recipe called for both black and white sesame seeds, we used the rest of our tuxedo-blend sesame seeds, which had both black and white seeds already mixed together, and then made up difference with white sesame seeds since that's all we could find at the store.

Now for the cooking.  According to the recipe, the key to making this dish is using a "superhot pan" so that it gets a nice crust on the outside of the tuna without overcooking the inside.  You are supposed to use a cast iron skillet, but since we have not yet invested in one of those, we stuck with the All-Clad.  While Nick was prepping the tuna, he had the pan on the stove top that was set to high - making it "rocket-hot."  Once it reached this extreme temperature, Nick drizzled 1 tablespoon of sesame oil over the super hot pan and proceeded to cook each side of the tuna for 30 seconds.

Cooking away
Well, the pan was definitely "rocket-hot." The first tuna steak hit the pan and we almost had to call the fire department - lets just say the screaming hot pan smoked a bit, and our vents were not enough!  I stood in the hall and fanned the smoke detectors to get rid of as much of the smoke as possible while Nick quickly seared the tuna.  This two minute time frame seemed to be MUCH longer, but the tuna cooked amazingly!  Once cooked, Nick covered the tuna with tin foil for about two minutes before serving.

The recipe suggested a cucumber side dish that Nick put together a couple of hours before cooking the tuna in order to make sure the flavors settled in and the cucumbers had more than a little kick - Sriracha Sunomono.  Nick sliced up a cucumber nice and thin and tossed them together in a bowl with 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, and a tablespoon of Sriracha.

A light salad
Once it was all finished, Nick sliced the tuna and plated it over jasmine rice.

Dinner is Ready!
This dish was so good!  I was worried that the Sriracha would be overpowering, but really it just complemented the tuna and provided a great flavor kick.  Having spent more on the tuna than we normally spend on dinner, I was a bit worried using the Sriracha because it it so strong but I would definitely make this again.  The cucumbers were still fresh and crisp tasting.  The sauce, again, had a nice bite from the vinegar and heat from the Sriracha.  I had some of these a few days later for lunch and the heat had definitely increased, to the point where I wished I had some milk rather than water to drink.

Overall, I was almost surprised by how much I enjoyed this dish.  Now I cannot wait to test out the rest of this book!

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