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Pepita Encrusted Seared Tuna

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Pumpkins are in season and so are their seeds. When you remove the hull from pumpkin seed, you are left with a smaller, greenish-hued seed called a pepita. Eaten raw, the seeds have a delicious sweet taste and a chewy texture. They are packed with more vitamins and minerals than one might think – vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin K, calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, zinc, potassium, copper, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Quite the nutritional profile for such a little seed.

Yes, it tasted as good as it looks.

We had the right ingredients and a free afternoon and it resulted in one of the most flavorful meals we’ve ever made.

Ingredients

Albacore Tuna Steaks

1/4 c. Raw pepitas

1/2 t. sea salt

1 t. black pepper

2 T. olive oil for cooking

Tamari Ginger Sauce

2 T. finely chopped fresh cilantro

1 T. Tamari sauce

1 T. olive oil for sauce

2 t. fresh ginger

1 minced garlic clove

1 t. pure cane sugar

Prep

Step 1: Finely chop cilantro and mince garlic. [Super finely.]

Step 2: Combine the ingredients for the sauce into a small bowl and whisk until the consistency is smooth.

[Sorry for slacking. We didn’t get photos of this process!]

We started with two albacore tuna steaks. It’s hard to go wrong from there.

Pulse the pepitas, sea salt, and black pepper in a food processor until it’s in small crumbs.

We had a bunch of carrots that needed to be cooked before going bad, so they found their way into the mix too. Recipe later for these. ;)

Empty the pepita mixture onto a plate with enough room to lay the tuna on top of it.

Place the tuna steaks on top of the mixture and then flip to the other side. Push the pepitas gently into the meat to make sure it is well-coated.

Ready for searing.

Heat the oil in a skillet on medium heat. Test that the oil is hot enough by sprinkling some of the pepita mixture into the skillet. If it sizzles, the pan is ready. Gently [keyword: gently] place the tuna steaks into the the skillet. Sear for one minute, flip the steaks and sear for one minute on the other side. Return the steaks to the first side and decrease the heat a bit. Cook for around 4 minutes on each side. [Increase or decrease the cooking time as needed, depending on the thickness of your steak.] We removed ours when they were cooked to about medium rare, which kept the fish tender and juicy.

The steaks are cooked about 1/4″ on each side, leaving a rare center.

We poured the sauce liberally over our steaks. And then wished there was more of it.

The pepitas brought the party to the tuna steaks. They had a slight sweetness and the perfect crunch. And the sauce was quite literally the cherry on top. This was such a delicious treat and one of our favorite homemade dishes yet.

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