appetizers + hors d'oeuvres,  party food + snacks,  pescetarian,  seafood

Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna Bites + Ginger-Soy Butter

I wanted to call this recipe Seared Tuna and the Puddle of Love, but The Man nixed that straight outta the gate. Too weird, he said. You’re weird, I said. I love you, he said. Same, I said, and then sulked my way back to the kitchen, my cooking metaphor not having passed muster.

You have several options for serving this Sesame Crusted Ahi: as a first course or a party app; sliced on top of a salad; or as entree steaks. Whichever you choose, be sure to use the freshest tuna steaks and pat lots sesame seeds into them (your rule of thumb is about 4 tablespoons of sesame seeds per pound of tuna). Then give them a blistering hot sear on both sides to really crunch up that crust.

As you see in the photo, these bite-sized chunks of tuna are skinny dipping in a shallow pool of the most delicious Ginger-Soy Butter. You may want to double the butter recipe; it’s that good.

The deliciousness of this Sesame Crusted Tuna is reliant upon two things:

1. Quality tuna:  ask your fishmonger for sushi grade, and make sure it is fresh,  fresh, fresh! Shop at a market that sells fish at a high volume and doesn’t commingle unwrapped sushi-grade fish with non sushi-grade fish. Its color should be vibrant, and its aroma should be oceany, not fishy. Crazy, I know, but your fish should not smell like fish.

2. 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 (compared to EVOO’s 325) and a clean finish that will not interfere with the mild sesame flavor.

No matter which way you decide to cut the tuna, cook it first. Then either cube it for bites or slice it for salad, making sure to use an exceptionally sharp + heavy knife to reveal that fetching fuschia-colored flesh.

I could eat these crunchy + savory + eye-poppingly gorgeous + tasty tuna bites all.night.long and not feel one iota of guilt! Exclamation point! Be sure to let them wade in a shallow puddle of love pool of this phenomenal Soy-Ginger Butter. You can thank me later.

Pair these Sesame Crusted Tuna Bites with an assertive assertive Sauvignon Blanc that will contrast yet complement the richness of this delicious tuna.

Bon appetit!


If you make these delicious Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna Bites + Ginger-Soy Butter,  I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment below and tag #nakedepicurean on Instagram so we can celebrate together!

Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna


for the bites as a first course for 2 or party appetizer:

  • ½ pound Ahi tuna
  • 1+ tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • 1+ tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil for coating and searing

for slicing, on a salad for 2-4:

  • 1+ pounds Ahi tuna
  • 2+ tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • 2+ tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil for coating and searing
  • Wasabi Vinaigrette dressing

as entrees for 4:

  • 4  five-ounce steaks, about 1 inch thick
  • 4+ tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • 4+ tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil for coating and searing

1. Mix the black and white sesame seeds on a large plate until combined. Coat both sides of the tuna with a thin veil of grapeseed oil and a sprinkle of S&P; then gently press the tuna steaks onto the sesame seeds to completely coat both sides.

2. Heat a large cast iron pan, sauté pan or griddle on high heat. Add the remaining grapeseed oil. Test the heat by hovering your hand over the pan. Once the oil and pan are hot, sear the tuna on each side for about 30-60 seconds. The tuna should be seared on the outside but mostly raw on the inside. Of course, you may cook it to your preference.

3. Remove the tuna to a cutting board and cube into 1-inch bites or slice or leave intact to serve as steaks. Serve with Ginger-Soy Butter (or Wasabi-Vinaigrette dressing if using in salad).

Ginger-Soy Butter

  • ⅓ cup dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons fresh ginger root, grated (use a microplane–trust me)
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (regular, low-sodium, or GF)
  • ½ pound unsalted butter, sliced into thin pats
  • freshly ground S&P to taste

1.  Bring the wine, ginger, and shallot to a simmer in a small saucepan until almost dry. Add soy sauce.

2. Slowly add the pats of butter, stirring continuously until fully incorporated. Strain and set aside. Keep warm until ready to use.

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