From the Working Girl Vault: Rare Sesame Seared Tuna

RECIPE: Sesame Seared Tuna
Sliced Sesame Tuna with Asian Salad

Sliced Rare Sesame Seared Tuna

This video was shot back in Florida.  More London videos to come in October!

I have a bone-deep weakness for anything that looks hard but is confidentially easy.  In food, in fashion, in any part of life.  It gives me such secret, sneaky thrills.  I love anything that I can be described as artless, or effortless, inadvertently fabulous, or accidentally perfect.  I just sighed as I typed that.  I’m serious.  It’s a little but proud triumph when having a sharp mind on the inside can make the outside look artless, effortless, fabulous, and perfect.  I just sighed again.

This recipe is all those things: artless, effortless, fabulous, and perfect.  I very often order seared sesame tuna when I’m at a restaurant.  And for many years, that’s the only place I ever ate it.  The outside is crusted with nutty, toasted sesame seeds, and the tuna on the inside is cooked ever so slightly more than sushi rare.  It’s light.  You feel healthy eating it.  The texture is so delicate it’s almost lacy, and with soy sauce or ponzu, and some pickled ginger, the flavor is phenomenal.  When I swear to you that seared tuna is the easiest thing on Working Girl Dinners so far, save maybe the Tortellini Soup, you’re no going to believe me.  But it’s artlessly, effortless, fabulously, and perfectly true.

The whole thing is done to restaurant perfection in three minutes, and I like to serve it with a quick Asian pickle (like in the video) or a big Asian salad (like in the photo).  It’s virtuous, but it’s also really impressive.  If you invite your friends over, they won’t believe you made it.  But you can say, artlessly and effortlessly, “Yes, I made this fabulous and perfect tuna all by myself!”

The only thing you need to think about, probably what you are thinking now, is about the tuna.  Go to a good supermarket or a fishmonger or a gourmet store.  You know the one–the one that’s probably slightly more fashionable or expensive than the other one near you.  Ask for tuna steak, sushi grade.  The flesh of the tuna should be red, not gray.  If you have any doubts, ask the person behind the fish counter if they would be happy to eat the tuna raw.  Trust yourself.  You know what fresh fish looks like, just by animal instinct.

Whole Sesame Tuna

Sesame Seared Tuna
serves 2 to 3


  • 1 English cucumber, seeded and sliced thickly on an angle

  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar

  • 3 teaspoons soy sauce

  • (optional: sliced fresh chilis or scallions)


  • 3/4 pound Ahi tuna steak

  • 4 tablespoons sesame seeds

  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds (or just 6 tablespoons of white sesame seeds!)

  • Vegetable oil

  • Soy sauce or Ponzu sauce


  • Mixed greens (eyeball as much as you want and top with veggies accordingly)

  • Shredded carrots

  • Grape tomatoes, halved

  • Yellow pepper, cut very thinly

  • Cucumber, sliced

  • Ginger dressing (recommending: Makoto)


If making the Asian Insta-Pickle, toss the cucumber slices with the vinegar and soy sauce (and chili or scallions if using), and set aside to marinate.

Get to work on the fish.  Cut the Ahi tuna steak in half, and roll both halves in the sesame seeds so the seeds coat the entire exterior of the fish.  Pour just enough oil into a wide pan to coat the bottom.  Heat on medium-high until smoking.  Sear tuna 30 to 45 seconds on each of 4 sides.  Slice thinly.  Serve with soy or ponzu sauce.

If making the salad, toss salad and vegetables with ginger dressing, and serve on the side of the tuna.


If you are faced with a choice between sesame seeds and toasted sesame seeds, get the UNtoasted ones.

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Easy, Eat, Fish, Main Courses, Recipes, Series, Watch, Working Girl Dinners

5 Responses to From the Working Girl Vault: Rare Sesame Seared Tuna

  1. Awesome blog! Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
    I’m planning to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you advise starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for
    a paid option? There are so many options out there that
    I’m completely confused .. Any suggestions? Appreciate it!

    • Kerry says:

      Hi! Thanks so much. I think definitely start on WordPress or another free option–for sure! My tips are find a particular topic that resonates with you, stick with that, and write about it. Write often. Share widely. But more than anything, focus on the integrity of what you’re writing about, and keep it germane to your original idea. Good luck!

  2. Sean says:

    “I love anything that I can be described as artless, or effortless, inadvertently fabulous, or accidentally perfect. I just sighed as I typed that.”

    That describes me completely. Always hunting for the quintessential simple, and yet amazing things. What of your other recipes would fit in that category?

    This has been saved as an “essential” for me.