The tuna counts are still running strong and, despite the dropping temps, the reports are still on fire. While other parts of the country are already ice-cold rolling into November, we benefit from the extended stays of most all pelagics… jumbo tuna included. This is an epic time of year, with the south swells switching to northwest, warm water sticking around, and clean conditions prevailing all day long. Lobster season has opened, so we have yet another avenue open this time a year, but I digress (and will save that for another day/recipe). For now, we will stick to the pelagic bite, and this week we’ll do a tuna recipe. The difference this time is we’ll match the weather change with a warmer (but still light) recipe to kick off Fall in our hometown.
Since the last tuna recipe was a straight raw preparation, and tuna this fresh really shouldn’t be cooked all the way through (unless it’s a personal preference), “seared” is a happy-medium between the two that I’m going to run with. The key to getting a nice crust on the outside with a rare center is a hot pan and oil/butter/both to prevent sticking. The warm, seasoned jasmine rice and roasted broccolini compliment the fish, but what really ties it all together is the sauteed mushrooms. I know a lot of people don’t like the more common mushrooms (i.e., white, crimini, etc.) and I don’t blame them; they can be chalky and unappealing. But living in Hawaii years back, I found some other kinds that changed my mind. Soft and spongy, the “Hamakua” mushrooms absorb whatever you give them, and they also have a meaty quality about them vs. dry and unfulfilling. Typically Hamakuas include Ali’i, Shimeji and Kea Shon Shimeji, and together they are unbelievable. Taking it one step further, just add Shiitake mushrooms, and the medley is complete.
- Tuna fillets - cleaned, trimmed, and patted dry… cut into medallions
- Both black and white sesame seeds
- Kosher sea salt, fresh cracked pepper and Togarashi to taste
- Sesame oil and butter
- 1-2 bunches fresh broccolini
- Sesame oil
- Salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and togarashi to taste
- Ali’i, Shimeji, Kea Shon Shimeji and Shiitake mushrooms
- 1 TBSP sesame oil and pad of butter
- ½ small, sweet Maui onion thinly sliced (quarter moons)
- 1-2 long green onions sliced (and another saved for garnish)
- 1 “pinky-size” finger of ginger - peeled and minced
- 2 cloves of garlic - peeled and minced
- 1 TBSP shoyu/soy sauce
- 1 Tsp Mirin
- Jasmine Rice:
- Jasmine rice based on amount eating (RINSE before cooking)
- Sesame oil and butter
- Furikake (various flavors - find one you like) or sesame seeds
- Start by cooking the jasmine rice. Read the directions because it’s a bit different than your traditional white rice. Be sure to rinse multiple times.
- Preheat the oven to 375 F. Put your broccolini on a baking sheet and toss with the sesame oil and dry ingredients listed above. Start checking it after 15 minutes and cook to taste. Side note – I like mine a little charred, so I cook it at 400 F.
- While the rice and broccolini are cooking, prepare everything else for the mushrooms (mince, slice, etc.) and then put a sauté pan over medium heat. Add sesame oil and butter and then add the ginger, green onion and Maui onion. After 2-3 minutes, add the garlic, and after another 2-3 minutes add the mirin and stir.
- Now it’s time to add the mushrooms, and if the aromatics are looking a little dry, feel free to add more butter. How bad could it be? After stirring and sautéing for 5 minutes, add the soy sauce. Reduce the heat to low.
- Season the tuna medallions with salt, pepper, togarashi and sesame seeds and put a pan over high heat. Sesame oil has a low smoking point, so if you aren’t using butter then add an oil with a higher smoking point (ie, grapeseed oil) to prevent burning.
- This part moves fast. Put on the tuna medallions and leave them alone for 60 seconds (or when seared) and then flip. Remove when done and set aside. Immediately squeeze fresh lemon juice in the pan, deglaze and pour over the tuna. Save some of the pan juices to pour over the mushrooms and rice, as this lemon/butter/sesame/seasoned flavor is key for all components.
- By now the rice, broccolini, and mushrooms should all be done, so plate however you want – clean or sloppy it’ll taste good! If you have not tried Furikake before, this is a good dish to try it on. The one with bonito flakes has an “umami” flavor that, alongside your favorite shoyu/soy sauce, can add that final touch.