Recipe: Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna

A few weeks ago I destroyed 2 perfectly beautiful pieces of tuna.  My family had come to town and at the last minute I decided to whip up a quick Saturday evening meal for everyone.  Whether it was the generous amount of wine in me or an over-eagerness, moments later I had a menu of salad, two variations of pasta, and three different seafood dishes planned.  Something was bound to go wrong.  And it did.  At the exact moment I put the tuna steaks on to sear a handful of brown-rice spaghetti fell onto the stovetop and went up in flames.  A few minutes and one slight panic attack later, the fire was out….but the tuna was destroyed.  The moral of the story, never multitask while searing a piece of tuna as it overcooks with the blink of an eye.  Last night I prepared it again, as I usually do, and this time all eyes were on my cast iron skillet.

Here I’ve used Ahi tuna, which is a highly nutritious type of tuna loaded with protein and Omega 3’s.  I’ve encrusted the tuna in sesame seeds, which gives it a nutty flavor and slightly crunchy outer shell that balances well with the texture of the fish.  You can serve the tuna over sesame noodles, with an avocado or seaweed salad, brown rice, or on its own with a wasabi or soy dipping sauce.  Last night we had it drizzled with wasabi mayo, salad and roasted kabocha squash.

Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna

Serves 2


  • 2 (6 oz.) sushi grade ahi tuna steaks
  • 3 tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • 3 tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil


Combine the sesame seeds, salt, and pepper in a bowl (add more salt and pepper if you like). Completely coat the tuna steaks in the mixture, pressing seeds and seasonings into the flesh. Heat the oil in a large skillet (I used cast iron) over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot (toss a sesame seed in there – if it sizzles you’re ready to go) place steaks into the pan.  Sear for 45-60 seconds on the flat sides and while gently holding the steaks with tongs, sear for about 15 seconds on the short sides.  Remove to a cutting board and let tuna rest for 30 seconds.  Slice the steaks into 1/2-inch thick pieces at an angle.

Wasabi Mayonnaise


  • 1 tablespoon wasabi powder
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ¼ cup canola mayonnaise


Mix the wasabi powder with the water until it forms a uniform paste. Mix with the mayonnaise.  Let chill before serving.

* I like my tuna pretty rare so 45 seconds on each side was perfect. If you don’t like your tuna as raw, sear for longer – I wouldn’t go over 2 minutes on each side though as your tuna will be overly dry.  See story above.



13 thoughts on “Recipe: Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna

  1. So I twisted Stephen’s arm last weekend into trying the ahi tuna at Trio where we all went to dinner during the summer…and he loved it! Now I can try this recipe at home. Thanks Dani!

  2. This looks yummy, going to make it for dinner tomorrow! I wonder if I could just use white sesame seeds as that is all I have on hand?

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