Seared Yellowfin Tuna with Wasabi Vinaigrette

I am a summer lover, it’s true. I love heat and sunshine and long days. But seriously. Enough with the 100+ degree days already. The heat here in the Northern IL area is becoming oppressive and depressing. I hate air conditioning normally. Does that make me weird? Probably. So does about 3,522 other things but I digress… If I can whip up a delicious dinner without major stove time right now, I’m pretty happy. I have favorites for these kinds of days but I’m really not used to having so many of these days in a row. Of course, a cold beer helps with getting into the “I really need to make dinner” mindset. Tuna is a favorite of ours and I like to just sear it on both sides, keeping the center medium to medium rare. This is a very easy dish and the vinaigrette adds a kick of soy, vinegar and wasabi, without being overpowering. Now, you can cook your tuna however you like it and you can customize the vinaigrette with less or more wasabi, to suit your tastes.

Seared Tuna with Wasabi Vinaigrette Recipe

First, let’s make the vinaigrette, so the flavors have time to blend a bit. Wasabiko Powdered Horseradish made by Hime, is the closest taste to what I’ve had in sushi restaurants. The ready-made pastes in tubes always seem to have a chemically or artificial taste to them. With this powder, all you do is put a bit of powder in a dish, add a bit of cold water and mix well with the back of a small spoon, until all the little dry crumbles are mashed and dissolved. Sometimes you’ll have to add a bit more powder or sometimes a bit more water but trust me when I say this isn’t rocket science. You put the two together until it’s a thick yet creamy consistency. Done. You’ve just made wasabi. Now back to the vinaigrette – in a medium-sized glass bowl:

  • 1 Tablespoon wasabi paste
  • 2 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

Whisk together and, while whisking, drizzle in:

  • about 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil.

Keep whisking until well blended. Taste. I had to amend this about 3 times with a bit more soy, a bit more vinegar and a bit more oil until I got to the amounts above. Trust your palate – close your eyes while tasting – and adjust to what you like. Okay, now the tuna:

  • 2 tuna steaks (I used yellowfin)
  • 2 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon each white and black sesame seeds
  • Olive oil
  • Two good handfuls of fresh baby spinach or arugula

Okay, I’m gonna babble again. If you have sesame oil, make sure you’re keeping it in the fridge or a dark, cool place – it goes rancid very quickly otherwise. And if you don’t have black and/or white sesame seeds than don’t worry about it.  This is awesome even without them.

Put the tuna in a bowl in a single layer, add soy sauce and sesame oil and turn tuna over to coat. Let marinate about 15 minutes, turning again once about halfway through.

Heat a heavy skillet on medium heat; I use my big cast iron skillet for this & it works great. Add olive oil and let heat about 3 minutes. While olive oil is heating, pat the tuna dry with a paper towel and sprinkle half the sesame seeds on one side of each steak, pressing them in a bit. Turn and repeat. Add tuna to heated oil. Heat about 4 minutes each side for medium; the nice thing about cooking tuna is you can see the cooking happening along the side of the steak.

Remove to a plate and slice into slices.

Divide spinach between two plates. Give your vinaigrette a good whisking again. Transfer tuna to top of spinach and drizzle with vinaigrette. Not the most stunning of photos but I was hungry. 🙂

seared tuna steak with wasabi vinaigrette recipe lola rugula

Warning: this vinaigrette is highly addicting. You can thank me later.

9 thoughts on “Seared Yellowfin Tuna with Wasabi Vinaigrette

  1. Thank you Mr. or Ms. Anonymous. The tuna was actually a little more cooked than I would have liked but the wasabi vinaigrette made up for it. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Believe it or not, Bushel & Peck’s in S. Beloit carries sashimi grade tuna sometimes or I get it at Hilander. Now that Hilander is actually Schnucks, their seafood selection seems better. They carry beautiful sea bass there sometimes too, though it costs a small fortune.

  2. You learn something every day: I did not know you should keep sesame oil in the frige. I am getting straight up and moving my bottle…. Loving this recipe!

    • Thank you! This is one of my favorite dishes – my husband and I love tuna. Yes, sesame oil is tricky so the fridge is best for keeping it fresh. Thanks for stopping by – I’m looking forward to checking out your site!

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