Sesame-Crusted Tuna with Homemade Ponzu Sauce
Mr. SGCC and I went to a fancy cocktail party several weeks ago. It was the kind of party where everybody spoke in hushed tones, hors d'oeuvres were passed on silver trays and champagne was poured into real crystal flutes. The kind of party where you feel obligated to squeeze your feet into high heels and risk killing, or at least maiming yourself.
The buffet table was just lovely though, laden with platters of impeccably displayed, mouthwatering morsels and mile-high vases of lush, fresh flowers. At one end of the tables, a guy wearing a crisp, starched, white jacket stood over a smoking hot wok. He was searing gorgeous slabs of tuna encrusted with black and white sesame seeds. and was doing an excellent job of it too. That tuna was perfectly cooked - golden and crunchy on the outside and cool and smooth on the inside. It literally melted in your mouth! I remember thinking at the time that I simply had to try to recreate this dish at home.
The next morning, I was sipping my coffee and scanning through my reader, when lo and behold, I saw a recipe on Steamy Kitchen for the exact. same. tuna. What luck! I've made no secret of the fact on this blog that I think Jaden's recipes are terrific. And, I'm lucky enough to live in the same city, so if I have any questions, I don't even have to call long distance. I bookmarked the recipe and hurried down to Whole Foods to find some beautiful, fresh, sushi-quality tuna steaks.
Just look at these beauties!
I followed Jaden's recipe pretty much as written. She says to coat the tuna with a thin layer of wasabi paste before coating it with the black and white sesame seeds. I was a little leery of this, but I did it anyway. She promised it wouldn't kill me. Then, I seared it, sliced it and served it with some zingy, citrusy, homemade Ponzu Sauce.
Ponzu Sauce is a citrus-based sauce that is commonly used in Japanese cuisine. It is made by boiling mirin, rice vinegar, bonito flakes, and seaweed over medium heat. The liquid is cooled and then strained, after which citrus juice is added. In Japan, Ponzu is made with a citrus fruit called yuzu which can be difficult to find in here in the States. Fortunately, a very close facsimile can be made using other citrus fruits like lemons, limes and oranges, which is what I did here. My version also includes soy sauce, technically making it a Ponzu Shoyu. I also left out the seaweed, because I didn't have any and didn't feel like going to the store again.
You can buy bottled Ponzu Sauce in the ethnic foods aisle at most supermarkets, but don't. It is so incredibly easy to make yourself, and the flavor just doesn't compare with the bottled stuff!
I have to tell you, my Sesame-Crusted Tuna was just as good, if not better than the one I ate at that cocktail party. That tuna was like buttah! And the wasabi schmear that I rubbed all over it really did mellow out and give a nice, gentle bite to the tuna, just like Jaden said it would.
I'm going to send you over to Steamy Kitchen for the tuna recipe. She gives a detailed, step-by-step presentation there. But, definitely come back here for the Ponzu Sauze. It will really make your tastebuds sing!
¾ cup mirin (sweet rice wine)
½ cup rice wine vinegar
4 tablespoons soy sauce
½ cup bonito flakes
1 tbsp fresh lime zest
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp fresh orange juice
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
Combine the mirin, vinegar, soy sauce, lime zest and bonito flakes in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.
Remove from the heat and let cool.
Pour the sauce through a strainer into a bowl and discard the solids.
Mix in the citrus juices.
Can be stored in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups.