This is another feature from Christina's 24th birthday dinner. We have done our incredibly delicious Ahi Tuna Ceviche appetizer quite a few times now after learning about ahi ceviche this last summer. Once that gastronomic revelation passed, I wanted to try to make ahi in the original way that I learned: pan seared.
So after finishing her first course, Rosemary Skewered Scallops in Duck Fat, which was a creation I dreamed up after making Roasted Duck with Fingerling Potatoes, we moved onto this ahi creation. Coated in sesame oil and black pepper, this ahi tuna can be eaten by itself but to kick it up a notch we added a sauce that is a total fusion of Mexican and Asian cuisines. You won't be disappointed in any way, and you will also be sending me a thank you card for introducing you to the combination of lime and wasabi: it's an unbelievable companionship.
Start by slicing your ahi tuna into 1inch wide by 1inch tall rectangles. The length will differ based on how big your ahi is, but try to keep the height and width consistent. When cut up, add them into a small bowl and coat with sesame oil and 1 tbsp of your olive oil. Let sit in the fridge for 20 minutes.
While this is going on, start your rice so that it finishes when the rest of the dish finishes. We recommend at least a cup, but go ahead and make 2 if you are serving more than 2 people. Christina wanted Quinoa instead of rice so you will see hers is a bit different, but its tastes just as good.
While the ahi rests and soaks in that oil (really keeps the fish hydrated), take your cilantro, garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, avocado, ginger, jalapeno, wasabi and 2tbsp of your olive oil and place them in a food processor or blender. Blend until a nice thick liquid. If its too thick, add in a little more lime juice and soy sauce, or if its too thin add more avocado if you have it. Transfer to a bottle of other container, cover it, and place it in the fridge.
Now that our sauce is done and it has been about 20 minutes, remove the ahi and place each piece onto tin foil. In a baking sheet or other large flat container, spread all of your black pepper evenly across it and then dab the ahi onto it individually to coat.
In a large skillet, heat the remaining 3tbsp olive oil at medium to high heat, and then place each ahi in the oil to sear it. Let the ahi sit on each side for about 1 minute so that it develops a little bit of a crust. Once finished, remove the ahi from the skillet and transfer to a clean cutting board.
Slice the ahi into thin slices by rotating them onto their side. It is easier to cut the ahi through the side that wasn't seared than trying to pierce through the crust. Place the ahi around your rice on a large plate, drizzle the fish with the sauce we made earlier, and serve with a side of soy sauce for the wasabi. Enjoy!