Old obsession (Sesame-crusted Tuna) meet my new obsession (Ponzu-braised Cucumbers). A match made in heaven if you ask me and a recipe that also happens to be one of those “one-pan wonders” – in that this recipe works best if you use one pan consecutively for all the components so that the flavour is transferred. This is what I call the perfect weeknight recipe!
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 4 ahi tuna steaks, roughly 6oz each and 1 ¼ inch thick
- ½ cup white sesame seeds + more for finishing
- ¼ cup black sesame seeds
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 3 tbsp high smoke point oil (Grapeseed or canola)
- 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup ponzu sauce + more for finishing
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar (unseasoned)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Carefully slice the garlic cloves as thin as possible, set aside.
- Slice the cucumber and green onion and set aside.
- In a shallow dish, combine the white and black sesame seeds, salt and pepper (to taste) and mix together until combined.
- Cut tuna steaks into rectangles (optional – but this will allow you to sear and slice the tuna more evenly). Pat the tuna steaks dry using a paper towel and dredge in the sesame seeds – coating the sides as evenly as possible. Set aside.
- In a searing pan (cast iron is my preference), heat the oil over high heat until it just starts to smoke then add the sliced garlic. Fry for about 1 minute, until golden brown and crispy. Using a skimmer spoon, remove the garlic and transfer to a paper towel.
- To the hot oil, add the tuna steaks to the pan and sear both sides until the white sesame seeds begin to turn golden brown – about 1 minute each side. *Depending on the size of your pan, work with two tuna steaks at a time to avoid overcrowding the pan*
- Once seared on both sides, transfer the tuna steaks to a cutting board and set aside for now.
- Add the sliced cucumbers to the hot pan and immediately turn off the heat but keep the pan on the element. There should be enough residual heat to braise the cucumbers – but be careful as they will spit a lot of hot oil since they are mostly all water so use a splash guard if you have one. Cook for about 5 minutes, flipping 1-2 times until they start to soften then add ponzu and rice vinegar and cook for another 3 or so minutes while you slice the tuna.
- Meanwhile, cut the tuna into ¼ inch thick slices and drizzle with additional ponzu sauce (to taste).
- Top the tuna and braised cucumbers with the crispy garlic, sliced green onion and additional white sesame seeds. Serve immediately.