I am about to blow your mind with this recipe, so pay attention.
Seared Pepper Tuna is such an indulgence for me. Something about clean tuna crusted with freshly cracked pepper throws me into a drooling tailspin. So.Many.Times I have put all dinner plans aside to drive directly to a sushi house to get my fix. For some reason it never occurred to me that I should (or could!) make it at home.
That is, until I had this chat with myself: Girl, you are a bad ass, and you can make this yourself! So here we are.
Lean in. I have to tell you a secret. You can be a bad ass, too. Make this fancy restaurant quality delight in your own kitchen. It is so spectacular but so.damn.easy. Your friends will hail you for being the god or goddess you know you are.
When I say this is really easy, I mean it! I have seen recipes that call for a blend of peppers and frou-frou things with which to coat the tuna. Not necessary! Cracked pepper is assertive enough on its own–it is all you need! Other flavors cannot compete and may go unnoticed, so why work that hard? If you feel compelled, however, to layer your flavors, you can mix in trace amounts of cayenne, paprika, coriander, allspice–whatever. But I promised you easy, so I am giving you easy. It will not disappoint!
Hear me when I say the deliciousness of this Seared Pepper Tuna is reliant upon three things:
1. Quality tuna–ask for sushi grade, and make sure it is fresh, fresh, fresh!
2. Freshly cracked pepper–since pepper may be the only spice you use (other than a little salt), you want it to be as piquant as possible. Grinding peppercorns yourself releases their warm, woody oils which are often lost through oxidation as peppers sit indefinitely on market shelves. Trust me. Do it.
3. A good sear: you want your pan to be SCREAMING hot. Using a cast iron pan is ideal, but not essential. What is essential is using a high-heat oil such as grapeseed oil. Grapeseed oil has a smoke point of 420 degrees F (EVOO’s is 325) and a clean finish that will not interfere with the pepper’s flavors.
This Seared Pepper Tuna is delightful by itself or dipped in sauces like wasabi or soy sauce or over a bed of greens with Wasabi Vinaigrette. Heck, skip the greens and dip the tuna in the dressing. You do you.
I am positive you will love this tuna! Pair it with a rich, red Zinfandel or, of course, bubbles.
If you make this Seared Pepper Tuna + Wasabi Vinaigrette, I’d love to hear about it! Post a comment below and tag #nakedepicurean on Instagram so we can celebrate together!
for the Seared Pepper Tuna
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 4 (6-ounce) ahi “sushi grade” tuna steaks, about 1 1/2-inches thick
- 6 tablespoons freshly ground, coarsely cracked black pepper
- 2-3 tablespoons grapeseed oil, divided
- Lay the tuna steaks on a plate. Lightly coat tuna steaks on both sides with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Then sprinkle both sides with salt.
- Use a spice grinder to coarsely grind peppercorns. Empty grinder onto a plate. Then coat the tuna on both sides with the black pepper, gently pressing it in so that it adheres to the surface.
- Heat frying pan or cast iron pan over high heat. When pan is very hot, add remaining oil.
- Sear the tuna for 2 minutes per side, or until desired doneness is reached.
for the Wasabi Vinaigrette
- 1-2 tablespoons prepared wasabi paste
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice, plus zest of lime
- 1 ½ teaspoons honey
- 3-4 tablespoons vegetable oil or grapeseed oil
Place wasabi, mustard, lime juice and zest, honey, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon water, in a mixing bowl and whisk well. Continue whisking while adding the oil in a slow, steady stream to emulsify.