An evening of indulgence

I have another weakness - whenever Loving Boyfriend goes out of town for the night and I am left alone to create dinner for one, I always make the same thing: Seared Wild Yellowfin (Ahi) Tuna. I don't know why; maybe because it can be pricey to buy for two (sorry, honey), maybe because I feel like treating myself extra nicely since I'm alone for the night. Either way, it's become a pattern for me, and one that I relish completely.

Thursdays are particularly hectic for us, and even more so when I'm on my own to get everything finished. After leaving work around 5pm, we have to cross town to pick up the CSA box, and then the puppy, and his mother, are due at puppy class by 7pm. I knew I had to make something quick, and seared tuna is about as quick as dinner can be as it takes all of 5 minutes to make. I picked up a fresh fillet at Newman's Fish Market on my way home, which has been in Eugene for 85 years, so I have full trust in their beautiful, fresh fish and knowledgeble staff.

A friend in Hawaii taught me this recipe, and I'll admit that the first time I tried it, I over-cooked the fish and it wasn't nearly as tasty as it had been there. However, by the second try, and every time after, it has come out perfectly seared on the outside and rare on the inside. 'But wait,' you may say, 'I don't like raw fish.'

This is not just 'raw fish'.

Even if you don't like sushi, or raw fish, this is how tuna is made to be eaten. Cooked too long, the flesh becomes hard and tough. And the searing gives the fish the texture of being cooked, so you won't even notice that the middle is rare. Best of all, it doesn't bleed all over the place like other rare meat...ew. What you will notice, is that beautiful pink flesh with the most perfect mouthfeel you can imagine...it literally melts in your mouth. Try it once, as life is too short
not to give everything at least that one small honor, and I promise, you'll see.

Seared Wild Yellowfin Tuna

Heat a skillet on medium high to high with about 2 tbsp. of toasted sesame oil (use unrefined, organic, and dark for the best flavor). You can pour sesame seeds, dried orange peel or anything else you think might be tasty (this is the combination I did last night, but I think fresh orange zest would be sublime) into a shallow dish, and push the fillet onto them, both sides, until the outside and sides are coated. But it's also delicious without anything else, just the fish itself. Then, once the oil is hot (not smoking), add the tuna and sear until you see the flesh begin to change color to pale white - and only until that color creeps up about 1/4 of an inch. Flip the fillet, and do the same to the other side. To finish it off, roll the oil around the pan so that the sides get seared (or, alternatively, press the fillet to the sides of the pan). That's it, you're finished. I had it on a bed of wilted spinach this time, with just the briefest splash of rice vinegar, and low-sodium soy sauce on the side. Another way I like to serve it is with the finely chopped tops of green onions (just the green part), sprinkled toasted sesame seeds (as opposed to crusting the outside, and a little wasabi paste with the soy sauce. Ahhh, perfect indulgence.

The best part? It took less than 15 minutes to make, I had time to clean up, wash the dishes,
and finish it off with a bowl of creamy vanilla bean ice cream with Cuisine Perel merlot-chocolate sauce drizzled over the top.

And the mom, and the puppy, who went from looking like this:

To looking like this:

in a mere 4 months, made it to puppy class on time.

3 comments from you:

mrs d said...

Hey Michelle, I just discovered your blog via the comments section over at Kitchenmage. I used to spend a fair amount of time in Eugene so it's nice to see more bloggers from there.

I couldn't agree more on the tuna. Sometimes at my husband's work, some silly patron will send tuna back to the kitchen, claiming it's "undercooked." The chefs have fits and I swear they're tempted to send catfood back out instead.

That's an awfully cute puppy you've got there. What's his breed?

michelle said...

miz d!
what an honor to have you visit my blog! i like yours too - esp. the introduction to your kitchen and family (including platelicker of course). eugene is a great place, we really love it. my pup is a husky, lab, rottweiler mix - so a real mutt! hope to hear from you again sometime.

michelle said...

ps. i also meant to say that i'm jealous of where you live too - i've never been up there, but being a marine biologist, friday harbor labs are very well known!