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Black Pepper Crusted Tuna Steaks

I was again looking for simple ‘crust’ recipes and Wife mentioned she’d like some tuna this week so this recipe for black pepper crusted tuna steaks just seemed perfect. The recipe is from About.com and is under the section ‘American Food’, you can find the original here.

The writer refers to the tuna as Ahi Tuna which I had never heard of but after a little bit of research it turns out that Ahi Tuna is derived from the Hawaiian word ‘ahi for Yellowfin Tuna. Careful though as the name ‘ahi in Hawaiian also refers to the closely related Bigeye Tuna.

This is the recipe for 4, as usual I’m only cooking for 2 so I just halved all the ingredients


Spice Mix with Salt Flakes


  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4 x tuna steaks, about 175g each (ask for “sear” or “sushi” grade if cooking medium rare)
  • 4 tbsp fresh coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 lemon quartered

Method of Preparation:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the salt, coriander, paprika, and cayenne pepper.
  2. Lay the tuna steaks out on a plate, and sprinkle the spice mixture evenly on both sides. Then coat the tuna on both sides with the black pepper, and gently press it in so that it adheres to the surface, being careful not to smash the flesh.
  3. Place a thick-bottomed frying pan, or cast iron skillet, on medium high heat, until very hot. Add the oil, and sear the tuna steaks for about 2 minutes per side. Serve with fresh lemon.

    Ready for the Pan

Hmmm, this was certainly interesting. The first bit was really peppery but I got used to it quite quickly and enjoyed the meal. The tuna was served with some blanched mini corns and mange tout.

Looks good doesn’t it!

I used rock salt for the recipe and I think it was a good idea or it would have been far too salty. Also I think you could use a little more paprika and a little less pepper. Essentially I think what we’ve got here is a good idea but it needs a little refinement, I would probably change the spice mixture to:

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne

Then I would suggest reducing the pepper to 3 tbsp. This should give the dish a much rounder flavour and I’m keen to try it, hopefully I’ll be able to let you know how this goes before too long.

My last piece of advice is to ignore the cooking times, just go with where you want it. Personally I like my tuna seared and that’s all, especially when the cuts are as good as the one I used here. The steaks I used were about an inch and a half thick and I cooked them for 1 min 15 secs each side and it was perfect for me, if not a little under for Wife – sorry about that…

I’d say total cooking time was about 20 minutes but I reckon it could be done in 10 as it’s a really simple dish to prepare. Perfect for a relatively impressive mid-week meal and would go great with a cold, dry, white wine.



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