One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.
~Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright, Pavarotti, My Own Story
Seared Ahi Tuna With Shiitake Cream Sauce? Isn't that just "wrong?" Dairy products are certainly not common in Asian cuisine from any region. Many people assume that lactose intolerance is the main factor behind absence of dairy in the Asian diet. It is certainly a factor; in some communities, studies have shown that up to 90% of the people are lactose intolerant. Lactose intolerance along with factors like population density and terrain have meant that cattle were primarily raised for beef rather than dairy. However unusual it might be to find dairy in an authentic Asian dish, it is not at all uncommon to find dairy included and even celebrated in Asian fusion cooking.
This goes right along with my most recent post that explains how I use Flavor Profiles to create new dishes. The flavors in Seared Ahi Tuna With Shiitake Cream Sauce are most definitely Asian/Japanese.
I've made a similar dish for years, and only recently decided to experiment with the addition of a bit of half and half.
Last Friday night, my husband and I were celebrating a long-anticipate development in our lives, and were pleased to have two of our "kids" join us at the last moment to celebrate. As is typical when I'm trying to refine an interesting recipe, I apologized in advance, explaining "it sounds weird, but it really is very good." This was about the fourth time in as many weeks that I had made it. 🙂 I quickly defrosted 2 additional ahi tuna steaks, and steamed a few more green beans. I think they were believers after the first bite! The patio was a perfect 79 degrees as we toasted Mark and enjoyed this moment - good food, family, and wine... "Devoting our attention to eating" seldom disappoints. 😉
I keep individually wrapped and frozen ahi tuna steaks in my freezer most of the time. I prefer fresh shiitake mushrooms, but you can certainly rehydrate dried shiitake, remove the stems, and treat them the same. I rely on my well-stocked pantry for so much of my Asian cooking. I served the seared tuna atop soba noodles tossed with tamari and toasted sesame oil. I had beautiful, fresh haricots verts (young, thin green beans) in my refrigerator, so Spicy Sesame Green Beans seemed the perfect side dish for this Asian-inspired meal. We enjoyed dinner with a glass of French Pouilly Fuisse - an oaked and aged white wine.
Does this dish sound weird? Delicious? Intriguing? I'd love to know your thoughts, and better yet, to know you tried it... 🙂
P.S. PLEASE read labels! Tamari and soba should be gluten free, but you need to double check if you have dietary restrictions!
Seared Ahi Tuna With Shiitake Cream Sauce
- 4 ahi tuna steak portions
- 3 tsp. sesame oil - divided use
- 1 tsp. canola oil
- 1 tsp. garlic - minced (about 3 cloves)
- 2 tsp. ginger - minced*
- 6 oz. fresh shiitake - cleaned, stemmed, and sliced thin*
- ½ cup rice wine or dry white wine
- 1 tsp. tamari soy sauce
- ½ cup half n' half
- chives or scallions
- sesame seeds
- 8 oz. dried soba noodles
- sesame oil
- tamari or soy sauce
- * See Notes
- Rub tuna steaks with about 1 tsp. sesame oil, and salt and pepper both sides.
- Put a large pot of water and 2 tsp. salt on high heat for pasta.
- To a medium saute pan, add 1 tsp. sesame oil and 1 tsp. canola oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and ginger. Saute until fragrant and golden, but not brown.
- Add sliced shiitake. Stir occasionally, cooking until edges begin to caramelize.
- While shiitake cook, cook the soba noodles according to package instructions (mine take 7-8 minutes, but this varies). Fresh soba take only 1-2 minutes so be careful. Drain. Drizzle with a scant 1 tsp. sesame oil and a sprinkling of tamari or soy sauce. Toss thoroughly, and set aside.
- Get a stove top grill pan or outdoor grill very hot (you want to sear the fish). We usually go for medium rare with this, but cook it the way you like it. My tuna steaks usually get about 2 minutes on each side, and they're pretty thick. Remove from the pan, and slice.
- Add wine to the saute pan with the mushrooms. Reduce until most of the wine is cooked off.
- Add the half n' half. Whisk the sauce to combine. Turn off the burner.
- To each plate, add one-fourth of the soba noodles, 1 sliced tuna steak, and drizzle with one-fourth of the ginger shiitake cream sauce.
- Garnish with chopped chives or scallions, and toasted sesame seeds.
Fresh shiitake have a more delicate texture that goes well with the sauce, but dried are nice as well. Allow about 15 minutes in very hot water to rehydrate. Remove stems, and slice thin. Tamari and soy sauce are both byproducts of fermented soy beans, however tamari is frequently gluten-free (check the label). Tamari is more complex, less salty, and richer in flavor. Tamari is the liquid byproduct of miso paste, and the flavor is lovely. However, you may substitute soy sauce in this recipe. As I mentioned in the post, this dish pairs well with [Spicy Sesame Green Beans.
NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.