Even pastry chefs have a savory side. You can serve this tuna cutting-board style in large pieces, or as individual fillet portions. I also serve these appetizer-style by placing the tuna in little cups on top of noodles, such as fettuccine (tossed with oil, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, and crushed red pepper). Drizzle the peanut sauce on top and garnish with scallions, chopped cilantro, and more sesame seeds.

2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
juice of ½ lime
2 teaspoons sesame oil, divided
4 (6-ounce) tuna steaks
3 tablespoons white sesame seeds
3 tablespoons black sesame seeds

Peanut Sauce:
⅓ cup peanut butter (creamy)
1¼ cups boiling water
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar or more, to taste
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro, chives, or parsley, optional
⅛ teaspoon red pepper
salt to taste
1 tablespoon canola oil

  1. In a 9 x 13-inch pan, combine honey, soy sauce, lime juice, and 1 teaspoon sesame oil.  Add tuna steaks and turn to coat all sides. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the sauce. Place peanut butter in a medium bowl. Add hot water and mix until smooth. Add soy sauce, garlic, vinegar, and sugar, and whisk well. Add more water if necessary to create a pourable sauce.
  3. Heat oil in a large cast-iron or Teflon pan over medium–high heat until hot. Place the white and black sesame seeds on a plate and stir to combine (use more seeds to coat completely).
  4. Remove the tuna from the marinade, reserving the marinade for later. Dip both sides of each tuna steak in the seeds. Place the steaks in the pan and cook for 1 to 2 minutes; turn over and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. The outside ¼ inch will be browned, and the inside will be rare.
  5. Place reserved marinade in a small saucepan over medium–high heat. Cook for about 30 seconds to thicken.  Brush this sauce on top of the tuna steaks.


Yield: 4 servings as a main dish, 20 as an appetizer


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