Since his birthday lunch of seared tuna at Blue Water Seafood Market and Grill, Anders has been dreaming about making a tuna sandwich. But the price of fresh tuna and our relative inexperience with cooking it has served as a big deterrence. You don’t want to ruin a $14/lb tuna steak! Anyway, this weekend he could not be stopped. We finally succumbed and bought a ginormous ahi tuna steak at Costco. This was one fantastic looking steak – probably big enough for 4-5 tuna rolls. So the plan was to sear the tuna, and, borrowing inspiration from Blue Water Seafood, serve it on a soft bun, rather than the artesan-style breads and rolls we typically use.
With a game plan in mind, the search was on for an acceptable roll. Anders just happened to be shopping at Lucky Supermarket – one of the 6 supermarkets that we just had to visit this weekend to satisfy our finicky grocery needs – when he happened upon: Pandesal rolls. Slightly sweet Filipino bread rolls which are very soft. Getting home with the unexpected find, it was time for the searing. A quick Google search, and a plan were laid to do one steak with sesame seeds, and one with a spice rub. From this point on we basically improvised the recipes below based on the content of our pantry, and the rest was… well see for yourselves.
Seared Ahi Tuna Sandwich
- 4 pandesal rolls
- 2 1/2 lb tuna steaks
- 4 thin slices of Asian pear
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup iceberg lettuce
- 2 tbs roasted garlic mayonnaise (recipe below)
Prepare the two rubs as described below. Roughly chop the lettuce and mix with the roasted garlic mayonnaise.
Place the marinade in a medium sized bowl and add the tuna steaks. Let it rest for about 15 minutes and then turn and marinade for another 15 minutes. One steak will be seared with a sesame seed mix and the other with the spice rub.
Spread the sesame seed mix (recipe below) onto a plate. Remove one of the steaks from the marinade and press it firmly into the seeds. Turn and continue pressing until all the sides have been thoroughly coated. Remove the other steak and apply the spice rub all over.
Add the olive oil to a medium saute pan and heat at medium-high heat on the stove. Add one of the tuna steaks and sear for 30-45 seconds on each side. Repeat with the second tuna steak. If your saute pan is wide enough, you could certainly sear both steaks at the same time. You just need to be careful that the steaks don’t crowd each other, resulting in less searing and more steaming/complete cooking. When the steaks are finished, let them sit for a few minutes and then slice into 1/4 inch thick slices. The inside of the tuna should be quite pink.
Cut the rolls in half, and warm in an oven. Thinly slice the Asian pear. You need 4 slices total, and 2 should cover the entire surface for a single roll.
Assemble the sandwich in the following order: bottom half of pandesal roll, 1 tbs of lettuce mix, 6-8 slices of tuna (we like tuna and used 8), 2 slices of pear, two slices of avocado, 1 tbs of lettuce mix, top of roll.
Sesame Seed Blend Recipe
- 1 tbs fennel seeds
- 1 tbs kalonji (aka black caraway)
- 2 tbs black sesame seeds
Spicy Rub Recipe
- 1/2 tbs rajma masala
- 1/2 tbs paprika
- 1/2 tbs tandoori
Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise Recipe
- 2 tbs mayonnaise
- 1 tsp mustard
- 5 roasted garlic
- 1 tsp black sesame seeds
Mix the ingredients together until smooth.
- 4 tbs soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tbs coconut oil
- 1 tsp balsamic apple vinegar