We’re eating more conscientiously, and that means finding new ways to prepare healthier proteins like fish. One that we’ve come to enjoy is yellowfin tuna and when seared just right, it seriously eats like a steak. This Asian-Caribbean fusion recipe has both sesame seeds and mango salsa and comes together relatively quickly, so it’s a great mid-week dinner.
Key Ingredients and Substitutions
The list of ingredients for this recipe is short, so splurging on the highest quality tuna available is your best bet.
The full ingredient list and measurements are listed in the printable recipe below.
- Tuna. We’re not talking Charlie here so stay away from Skipjack and while fresh albacore can also be served as a tuna steak its flavor is very mild so not our top choice. Yellowfin and Bigeye are best for tuna steak. Bluefin is the most expensive option and is usually reserved for sushi. Both yellowfin and bigeye tuna are referred to as Ahi in Hawaiian.
- Sesame Seeds. While you definitely want hulled sesame seeds, both white and black varieties taste good, and a mixture has a visual impact.
- Refined Avocado Oil. You want a cooking oil with a high smoke point that doesn’t add significant flavor; besides avocado, refined peanut, safflower, or even clarified butter (ghee) would work as well.
- Mango Salsa. Top the cooked tuna steak with fresh mango salsa to add a little bit of sweetness, spice, and acid. In addition to mangos, our recipe includes red pepper, English cucumber, red onion, jalapeno (keep the seed if you like it with a kick), lime juice, apple cider vinegar, cilantro, and salt and pepper.
How to Make Sesame Seed Crusted Tuna Steak
Here are the quick step-by-step instructions with visuals; you can find the full instructions with the exact ingredients in the recipe card below.
Pro-tip: To avoid dry, crumbly tuna cook it quickly on high heat.
1. Prepare the Mango Salsa: In a serving bowl, combine the mango, red pepper, English cucumber, red onion, and jalapeño. Add the lime juice, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, garlic powder, kosher salt, and black pepper then gently toss. Top with cilantro and chill for at least 10 minutes before serving.
2. Prepare the Tuna: Mix together sesame seeds, salt, and pepper and place on a plate. Pat the tuna steak dry and drizzle with avocado oil. Press the edges of the tuna into the sesame seed mixture and use your hands to pack the seeds evenly. Set the tuna aside on a clean tray while the cast-iron pan heats up.
3. Cook the Tuna: Heat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until it is very hot then add 2 tablespoons of avocado oil to the skillet and coat the pan. Once the oil is hot, carefully lay the tuna in the skillet, pressing it down with a spatula. Sear for approximately 60 seconds or until it is golden brown. Carefully flip the tuna steak and seared the second side for 60-90 seconds or until golden. Don’t forget to sear the edges of the tuna. Hold the steak upright with tongs and sear all four edges.
4. Serve: Place the seared tuna on a cutting board and allow it to rest for 2-3 minutes. Using a sharp knife slice the tuna thinly against the grain in approximately quarter-inch thick slices. Serve on white rice and topped with mango salsa.
Recipe Tips and Notes
- Tuna needs to be seared quickly at high heat so use an oil with a high smoke point such as refined avocado oil which has a smoke point of about 520º. Avoid using extra virgin olive oil which only has a smoke point of 350º.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, the center of your tuna steak should be pink since tuna steaks can get dry when overcooked.
Tuna steaks need to be cooked quickly so use a cast-iron pan heated to 425º-450º. To get the perfect tuna steak sear each side for approximately 60-90 seconds. The internal temperature should be about 140-145º.
Tuna steak should be approximately 1 in/2.5 cm thick. Thicker-cut tuna will require additional cooking time.
Tuna should not be thawed on the counter at room temperature. Tuna can be thawed in the refrigerator (8-12 hours) or using a cold water bath (~30 minutes). Frozen tuna steaks that are vacuum-sealed should be removed from the packaging prior to either thaw method. Thawing tuna in its vacuum seal can promote the growth of harmful bacteria. Tuna can be stored for up to 48 hours in the refrigerator after it has been thawed.
Cooked tuna can be refrigerated for 3-4 days in an air-tight container.
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Other Recipes to Try
If you enjoy this recipe, we recommend checking out some of these other options:
Sesame Seed Crusted Seared Tuna with Mango Salsa
- 1 10-12 inch Cast-Iron Skillet (Large)
- 2 tuna steaks
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1.5 tablespoons white sesame seeds
- 1.5 tablespoons black sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Mango Salsa, if desired
- If desired, prepare mango salsa and set it aside in the refrigerator.
- Mix together sesame seeds, salt, and pepper and place on a plate.
- Pat tuna dry and drizzle with avocado oil.
- Press edges of tuna into sesame seed mixture. Use your hands to pack the seeds evenly and then set the tuna aside on a clean tray.
- Heat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until it is very hot. Add 2 tablespoons of avocado oil to the skillet and coat the pan Once the oil is hot carefully lay the tuna in the skillet, pressing it down with a spatula.
- Sear for approximately 60 seconds or until the side is golden brown.
- Carefully flip and seared the second side for 60-90 seconds or until golden.
- Sear the edges of the tuna by holding it upright with tongs.
- Place the seared tuna on a cutting board and allow it to rest for 2-3 minutes. Using a sharp knife slice the tuna against the grain into approximately quarter-inch thick slices. Serve on white rice and topped with mango salsa.