Thursday, August 22, 2013

Seared Spice-encrusted Tuna Steaks

There’s just something about Sunday Brunch that’s special.  The dressing up, the champagne, the extravagant variety of choices, and most especially, the occasion.   Because if you are going to Sunday Brunch, there is probably a reason.  Even if it is just to celebrate summer!  When we were living in Kuala Lumpur, one of our favorite brunches was at the Westin hotel.  Along with the generous buffet where we could help ourselves, the wait staff also delivered delicious morsels to our table, all afternoon.  Plus Champagne.

One such morsel was tuna, coated in spices and seared till it was golden on the outside but still vibrantly pink on the inside.  The last time we were there, I examined it closely, tasting bite after bite, purely for research, you understand. And this is my best approximation of that lovely dish.  You can serve it alone, tapas style, in which case, drizzle it with some good olive oil in the serving dish, or on a bed of greens and rice salad on a small plate for a starter, or in a larger bowl for a complete meal. 

2 tuna steaks – about 9 oz or 255g each

For the spice mix
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
1 teaspoon fennel
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon mixed peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

For the wet coating
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons olive oil – plus more for the frying pan

Lay your tuna steaks out between paper towels to dry.

Use a mortar and pestle to grind the spices finely.

The pink is Himalayan sea salt.  Use any sea salt you have. 

Mix the whole grain mustard thoroughly with the olive oil.

Spread half of the mustard mixture on one side of the tuna steaks and then sprinkle with half of the spice mix.

Put the tuna on a piece of cling film, which will make it easier for you to flip it over into the frying pan.  Repeat the seasoning on the other side, first mustard, then spices.

Heat a non-stick frying pan until it is very hot and then drizzle in a little olive oil.  Cook one side of the tuna for just a couple of minutes before turning it to the other side.

Watch the side of the tuna and you can see the cooked part coming up.  You want to leave a good amount of pink still in the middle.

Sear the other side for just a minute or two and then remove from the pan and allow to rest for a few minutes.

Slice into thin pieces with a serrated knife, using a sawing motion so you don't mash the tuna.



  1. I spy what I'm cooking for dinner tonight. And I just bought a new mortar and pestle.

  2. I thought you were just being sweet on G+, Renee. :) I hope you do enjoy it. It's one of my favorite things. And so quick to make! At least the tuna part, I mean.

  3. I looks so lovely! I have a mortar and pestle as well - it was my grandfather's from his apothecary in the early 1900's. I could also use them as weapons if I needed to! :) I love Sunday brunch as well - and I always get the tuna!

  4. Those babies are really heavy! They COULD be weapons. How cool that you have your grandfather's!

    As for brunch, I make a beeline for all the seafood. Cold boiled shrimp. Crabs legs. Smoked salmon. Raw oysters. Not to mention the Champagne. Forget the pasta and bread. I get my money's worth at a buffet!

  5. Me too! MPE doesn't like seafood unless he's sitting in a restaurant by the ocean. Now I want some raw oysters and beer.

  6. It just so happens that we are trying out our first Champagne brunch in Dubai (Here they are on Friday.) tomorrow. I'll have a few for you. Oy.

  7. This looks amazing. I pinned that sucker!

  8. Thank you, Peter! I sure appreciate it!


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