I’m back! And this time with an Asian dish. I’ve always felt tentative cooking Asian food….mostly because I’m a white Midwesterner with little exposure to real Asian food for my formative years. I always knew whatever Asian food I could get my hands on was filtered through many cultural translations to be more “American” food than anything, which is understandable. Local adaptations with available produce are necessary, and importing real Asian foods isn’t really sustainable or fresh. So, this dish has Asian influence (flavors of green onions, coconut aminos, and toasted sesame) but I fully realize it is not an authentic “Asian” dish…especially since I’ve replaced the rice with cauliflower.
My husband loves ahi tuna. But, he also loves saving money, so that creates an interesting tension. Basically I buy my ahi tuna at Target or Costco (sometimes even Aldi sells it!) since those retailers have it at the most affordable prices. And since it is such a high quality fish, overcooking it is a sin, because then your expensive dinner becomes tough and dry. Most recipes call for ahi tuna to be seared at a high temperature, and left cool in the middle, which is how I make it. So if you are afraid of delicious, properly cooked fish, then don’t try this.
One of my favorite spice blends is Japanese Shichimi Togarashi. It’s a seven-spice blend that typically contains red chili pepper, Japanese pepper, roasted orange peel, black and white sesame seeds, hemp seeds, ginger, nori, and poppy seeds. It’s peppery and flavorful, and usually doesn’t have a harsh chili pepper burn. I like to heavily season both sides of the tuna, since the seed components of the spice blend tend to be coarse and can easily fall off. I usually start cooking the cauliflower rice first, let it cook, and then quickly sear the tuna so that it can all be served together. Let me know what you think!
Seared Ahi Tuna with Stir-Fry Broccoli Cauliflower Rice
- 1 head of cauliflower cored and cut into sections
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons of black and/or white sesame seeds
- 1/2 pound shredded carrots
- 1 pound of broccoli florets
- 1/4 cup of sliced green onions
- 2 fresh ahi tuna steaks
- 1-2 tablespoons shichimi togarashi or similar Japanese spice blend
- Flake sea salt to taste
After coring the cauliflower and cutting into sections, place sections in food processor with smallest shredding blade, and cauliflower will quickly become riced. If you do not have a shredding blade, then put each section in the food processor with the S-blade and pulse into the cauliflower resembles small, riced pieces. Or, if you don't have a food processor, you can buy pre-riced cauliflower, or grate the cauliflower by hand (I am not sure how effective this is, but I've heard it can work!).
Heat the toasted sesame oil over medium heat in a cast iron dutch oven, or a heavy bottomed (and high walled) skillet, Cook the minced garlic for 1-2 minutes. Add the riced cauliflower, and make sure there is enough oil to prevent the cauliflower from sticking and burning to the bottom. You may need to add oil a little bit at a time as you stir.
After about 8 or so minutes, add the ginger, chicken broth, sesame seeds, shredded carrots, and broccoli and keep stirring and cooking. After about 7 more minutes, when the cauliflower has softened and the broccoli has turned bright green, you can turn the heat down to low and add the green onions. Cover and leave warm while you prepare the tuna.
Take the tuna out of the refrigerator, and pat very dry with paper towels. Cover the tuna with the Japanese spice blend, and sprinkle with flake sea salt on both sides. Heat a cast iron skillet with a splash of toasted sesame oil on medium high heat until just smoking.
Sear the tuna for approximately 1.5 minutes. Flip the tuna and sear for an additional minute. There may be this strange expulsion of fat from the center of the tuna: this is totally edible, it just looks weird. I would serve the tuna rare, but if you prefer, you can leave the tuna on the skillet for 2 minutes per side.
Scoop out some warm stir fry cauliflower broccoli rice into a bowl, place the tuna on top, and enjoy. Add a splash of coconut aminos for extra umami!