You’ve heard of seared ahi tuna steaks, right? Well that’s essentially tataki. The flesh is flash-seared so it’s crispy on the outside but still rare inside, resulting in a delicious contrast of textures and temperatures. Thinly sliced and arranged on a platter, it makes for an elegant first course, especially when topped with crunchy toasted sesame seeds and tahini vinaigrette. The rich, nutty flavor of the sesame seeds is a perfect match for the rare tuna.
Tahini, lemon, and honey vinaigrette
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
1 Tbsp tahini
1 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp sea salt
Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl, whisking until well blended and emulsified. Taste and adjust seasoning with more lemon and salt if desired. Can be made ahead of time; will keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks (although the lemon flavor will start to weaken after a few days).
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 1/2 lb albacore tuna loin
1 to 2 radishes, thinly sliced, for garnish
Radish sprouts, for garnish
Toasted sesame seeds, to sprinkle
Flaked sea salt, to sprinkle
Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Add the tuna loin, and sear each side for 20 seconds or until golden but still rare to medium-rare on the inside.
Immediately transfer the tuna to a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange the slices on a serving platter, garnish with the radishes and sprouts, and sprinkle with the sesame seeds and salt. Spoon over the vinaigrette and serve immediately.