These Seared Ahi Tuna Steaks (also known as yellowfin or bigeye tuna) take only SIX MINUTES to cook to medium-rare perfection and are bursting with delicious umami flavor from the soy sauce and toasted sesame honey marinade recipe!
2 ahi tuna (yellowfin tuna) steaks (about 4 oz. each, at least 1.5" thick)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon Honey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tablespoon canola oil or olive oil
green onions, toasted sesame seeds, and lime wedges for serving (optional)
Pat the ahi tuna steaks dry with a paper towel. Place on a plate or inside a plastic bag.
Mix the soy sauce (2 tablespoons), toasted sesame oil (1 tablespoon), honey (1 tablespoon) kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon- OMIT if marinating for more than a couple hours, see notes), pepper (1/4 teaspoon), and cayenne pepper (1/4 teaspoon) until honey is fully dissolved. Pour over the ahi tuna steaks and turn over to coat completely. Optional: allow to marinate for at least 10 minutes, or up to overnight in the refrigerator. Also optional: Reserve a spoonful or two of the marinade before coating the fish for drizzling on top after you've cooked it.
Heat a medium skillet (preferably non-stick or a well-seasoned cast iron skillet) on medium-high to high until very hot ( or medium medium-high for nonstick). I recommend giving cast iron 3-5 minutes to get hot and nonstick about 1 minute, depending on how thick it is.
Add the canola oil (1 tablespoon) to the hot pan. Sear the tuna for 2 minutes on each side for medium rare (1.5 minutes on each side for rare; 3 on each side for medium). (Note: different burners get hotter depending on your stove. Use your best judgement whether you use medium, medium-high, or high heat, as the marinade may burn if too high heat is used)
Remove to a cutting board and allow to rest for at least 3 minutes. Slice into 1/2 inch slices and serve garnished with green onions, toasted sesame seeds, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice, if desired.
For thinner tuna steaks, you may need less searing time. If you are using tuna steaks that are less than 1 inch, I recommend only 1 minute per side, depending on your preference for doneness. You may also need less searing time depending on the temperature of your fish- if it's been sitting out of the fridge for a while, it will take less time to cook.
This recipe has been updated from its original. It had a simpler marinade of 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon canola oil, salt, and pepper before. If you're short on ingredients (like toasted sesame oil and honey) try this simpler version!
For a gluten-free version, be sure to use gluten-free soy sauce. Or, for a paleo/whole30 compliant option, use liquid aminos instead.
Depending on how hot your burners are, you may have to experiment with how long to sear each side. Depending on the stove I'm using, I sometimes only cook it for one minute on each side for medium-rare!
You can also grill this over hot coals or high heat on a gas grill for about 1 minute per side.
Marinating for a while can cause the fish to taste saltier, as it will have more time to absorb the flavor. If you're planning on marinating for more than an hour or so.
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