Tag Archives: seafood

Sesame Crusted Tuna Steaks

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Fresh tuna steaks are a fast and delicious dinner that even fish-haters around here approve of. Fresh tuna steaks are coated in sesame seeds, quickly seared, and served with a spicy Asian dipping sauce. Tuna steaks are best served rare, so be sure you have all of your sides ready before starting to cook the fish.

The main ingredients in the dipping sauce are soy sauce, lime juice, and chili paste. The strong flavors pair well with the mild fish. You can adjust the spice level to the taste of your family.

Preparing the tuna steaks is super simple. Mix together some white and black toasted sesame seeds, and generously coat all sides of the tuna steaks. Cook for 2 minutes in a hot cast iron skillet, and you are done. Be sure and serve immediately, so that the tuna steaks don’t dry out.

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The best place to buy sesame seeds is an Asian market. You can buy large bags of white or black seeds relatively inexpensively.

In addition to the dipping sauce, I served the tuna steaks with a Thai Cucumber Salad and Green Chili Cilantro Rice.

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Recipes:

Sesame Crusted Tuna Steaks

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4  fresh ahi tuna steaks, about 1” thick
Salt and freshly ground pepper
½ cup each black and white toasted sesame seeds
4 Tbs oil

Dipping Sauce:
¼ cup soy sauce
1 lime, juiced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbs sesame oil
10 drops liquid stevia (or 1 Tbs brown sugar)
2 tsp ground chili paste (adjust to taste)
2 Tbs chopped cilantro

Prepare dipping sauce: Stir together all of the sauce ingredients and set aside.

Pat tuna steaks dry. Season both sides of the tuna steaks with salt and pepper. Place sesame seeds in a wide bowl and dip tuna steaks in seeds, pressing seeds onto all sides of the tuna steaks.

Heat oil in a cast iron skillet until very hot. Add tuna steaks to hot pan. Do not crowd pan; cook in batches if necessary.  Cook for 1 minute on each side. (Adjust cooking time if steaks are thicker, or if you want them cooked more than rare). Remove to serving platter. Cut tuna steaks diagonally into slices and serve immediately with dipping sauce.

Thai Cucumber Salad

4-6 small pickling cucumbers, sliced
½ of a small red onion, thinly sliced
½ cup chopped cilantro
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup rice vinegar, unsweetened
¼ cup fresh lime juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs sesame oil
10 drops liquid stevia (or 1 Tbs sugar)
1 tsp kosher or sea salt
¼ tsp dried crushed red pepper flakes

Mix sliced cucumbers, onion and cilantro in a bowl. Stir together remaining ingredients. Pour over cucumbers.

Green Chili Cilantro Rice

Green Chili Cilantro Rice

1 can (1 ¾ cup) chicken broth
1 can (4 oz) diced mild green chilies, undrained
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs olive oil
½ tsp salt
1 cup Basmati rice (or other long grain variety rice)
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Combine broth, green chilies, garlic, olive oil, and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Stir in rice, cover, and simmer over low heat for 20-25 minutes, or until rice is cooked. Stir in chopped cilantro.

This can also be cooked in a rice cooker: combine all ingredients except cilantro in rice cooker and cook according to directions; stir in cilantro.

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Blackened Fish Tacos with Cilantro Dressing

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I wish I could say that fish tacos are a favorite meal in our house. Unfortunately, I have a few fish-haters who refuse to like any kind of seafood. Even when, as in this case, the fish is extremely mild, “unfishy” and full of flavors they already enjoy. But I love them, so I continue to cook them for those of us who appreciate a change from your standard ground beef taco. The others eat the beans and cabbage drowned in the delicious cilantro dressing.

In the summer, I would add fresh homegrown tomatoes to these tacos. After growing my own tomatoes, however, I have a real aversion to grocery store tomatoes. They are always mushy or mealy, regardless of how red and beautiful they appear. So I will wait for summer to add them.

I like to use Cotija cheese in these tacos. Cotija is a firm mild cheese with a texture similar to feta, but without the saltiness. It crumbles easily with your fingers. Cabbage is also a must in fish tacos. The crunchiness of the cabbage makes a great contrast to the soft texture of the fish.

I serve these with a creamy cilantro dressing. It is full of cilantro, and just barely spicy. You can adjust the heat by varying the amount of jalapeno and Sriracha sauce in the dressing. I often make a double batch of the dressing and use it later as a salad dressing or raw vegetable dip.

RECIPE:

Blackened Fish Tacos with Cilantro Dressing

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4 firm white fish fillets (halibut, cod, snapper)
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp Ancho chili powder
1/8 tsp chipotle chili powder
2 Tbs oil

Corn or Flour tortillas
Shredded green cabbage (about 2 cups)
Tomatoes, diced
Cotija cheese, crumbled
1 can black beans, drained and mixed with 1 Tbs lime juice

Cilantro Dressing:
1/2 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 green onions
1 fresh jalapeno
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
2 Tbs diced mild green chilies (about 1/2 of a 4 oz can)
2 Tbs fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 – 1 tsp Sriracha chili sauce (adjust to taste)
1/2 tsp kosher salt


Prepare cilantro dressing: Place all dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Refrigerate for about one hour. Use any leftover lime juice to mix with a can of drained and rinsed black beans.

Remove fish from refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking. Mix dry spices in a small bowl. Pat fish fillets dry and rub spices onto both sides of fish fillets.

Heat oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Place fish fillets in the hot skillet and sear until cooked through (do not crowd pan; cook in 2 batches if necessary). Depending on the thickness and variety of fish, it should take about 3 minutes per side. Check for doneness with a fork: fish should flake easily, but not fall apart. Remove from pan and let fish rest for 2-3 minutes. Use a fork to separate fish into 2-3 pieces.

Serve fish strips in warm tortillas with shredded cabbage, tomatoes, Cotija cheese, black beans and cilantro dressing.

Makes 8-10 tacos

 

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Super Simple Szechuan Shrimp

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Easy prep, easy cooking, easy clean-up, and ready to eat in under 30 minutes, start to finish (even if your shrimp are frozen). Simple enough for a quick mid-week meal, but elegant enough to serve to company.

This is a recipe that I adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen. I had bought some Szechuan peppercorns from Penzeys and thought that this would be a great recipe to add them to. Szechuan peppercorns are not spicy in the same way that some other hot peppers are. Rather than a burning feeling, they produce kind of a “numbing” sensation on your tongue. But when used sparingly, they add a great flavor!

To save on clean up, I like to prepare this recipe using Ziploc bags and a foil lined roasting pan.

Combine fresh green beans with a little olive oil, coriander, cumin and ground Szechuan peppercorns (you could also use red pepper flakes or other spicy pepper if you don’t have the Szechuan ones).DSC06536-1

To save on time, I bought raw, peeled shrimp (they still had tails, and I left them on). To thaw frozen shrimp, place them in a colander and run cool water over them until thaw.

Combine shrimp with olive oil, lemon zest and salt and pepper.DSC06545-1 Arrange beans on a foil-lined pan in a single layer .DSC06541-1

Roast  beans at 425°F for 5 minutes.

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After 5 minutes, arrange shrimp on top of beans and roast 8-10 minutes more, until shrimp are done but still tender and juicy. DSC06550-1 Serve with lemon wedges.

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RECIPE:

Szechuan Shrimp and Green Beans

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For the green beans:
1 lb green beans
1 Tbs olive oil
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp whole Szechuan peppercorns, ground**

For the shrimp:
1  lb medium-large raw shrimp, thawed and peeled
2 Tbs olive oil
zest from one lemon (save the lemon and cut into wedges)
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425°F.

If shrimp are frozen, place in a colander and rinse with cool water until thawed. Peel and de-vein.

Grind whole Szechuan peppercorns (I use my regular black pepper grinder). Place with green beans in a Ziploc bag with remaining “green bean” ingredients.

Combine shrimp and remaining “shrimp” ingredients in a separate Ziploc bag. Reserve lemon wedges for later.

Line a roasting pan with foil. Spray with non-stick cooking spray. Arrange beans on pan in a single layer as much as possible. Roast  beans at 425°F for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, arrange shrimp on top of beans and roast 8-10 minutes more, until shrimp are done but still tender and juicy.

Serve the shrimp and beans immediately with lemon wedges.

**NOTE: If you don’t have Szechuan peppercorns, you can substitute crushed red pepper flakes, or other hot peppers. I get my peppercorns from Penzeys.

Adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen

 

 

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Spicy Pan-Seared Tuna Steaks

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These can actually be as spicy or not-so-spicy as your family likes. Fresh tuna steaks are marinated in a flavorful soy sauce based sauce and then quickly seared just before serving. Super easy. Super fast. Super delicious. Plus NO prep bowls to clean! Just one pan to clean and one Ziploc bag to throw away.

The marinade includes lime and soy sauce, ginger and garlic, chili paste (which can be adjusted to taste) and cilantro. Tuna is a drier fish, so the marinade also contains quite a lot of oil, but the marinade is drained off before cooking, so you don’t actually eat all of that oil. But it will keep your fish nice and moist. Tuna is best eaten on the rare side. It is so much more tender and flavorful that way. Nothing at all like dry tuna out of a can.

Marinate your fish in a Ziploc bag or shallow dish at room temperature for 30-40 minutes before you plan on eating (or prepare it earlier in the day and place in the refrigerator. Remove from fridge 30 minutes before you plan on cooking it).

This cooks very fast-only about 5 minutes total, so have your side dishes ready before you begin searing.

To cook, heat a skillet over medium-high to high heat. Don’t add any oil; the marinade has plenty of that! Remove fish from marinade, draining off as much of the marinade as possible.

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Add tuna steaks to the hot pan and cook 3 minutes on the first side and 2 minutes on the second side.

You can cover the pan to reduce splattering, if you like. Tuna will be cooked about ¼” through, and rare in middle. Increase cooking time if you want it cooked a little more, but don’t overcook; it will quickly become dry.

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.RECIPE:

Spicy Pan-Seared Tuna Steaks

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4 tuna steaks (about 1 ½” thick)
Zest & Juice from one lime (or lemon)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp minced gingerroot
¼ cup soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
¼ cup toasted sesame oil
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp chili paste
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients in a Ziploc bag. Marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature, or up to 2 hours in refrigerator (remove from fridge 30 minutes before cooking).

Heat pan on medium-high heat. Remove tuna from marinade. Add tuna steaks to pan and cook 3 minutes on one side and 2 minutes on the 2nd side (cover to reduce splattering). Tuna will be cooked about ¼” around, and rare in middle.

 

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