Tuna with Sesame Seeds and Pickled Cucumber

Tataki

This starter is easy to prepare and simply delicious, provided you have the best quality ingredients: fresh tuna, tasty sesame seeds, sesame oil and pickles.
Japanese sesame oil is made from roasted sesame seeds. As with olive oil the best sesame oil is ‘extra vierge’ so the oil is extracted from the seeds using pressure only. We used oil produced by La Tourangelle, a company specialised in gourmet oils. Think Walnut oil, Hazelnut, Almond, Pistachio, but also Coconut and Avocado oil. As always, this sesame oil is more expensive than the usual sesame oil, but the difference in taste is impressive. A few drops of this wonderful sesame oil work perfectly with the tuna and the lightly toasted sesame seeds.
Pickled cucumber is a great addition to this dish; it comes with a bit of ginger, sesame seeds (!) and a light acidity. Not difficult to make, but buying it is fine too.

Sake Pairing

The world of sake is a complex one. We decided to drink a glass of Yamato Shizuku, Junmai Gingo. The production of sake is labour intensive and it very much depends on the quality of its four main ingredients (rice, koji, yeast and water) and the skills of the brewers. Junmai means that only these four ingredients were used and Ginjo means that the sake was made with carefully selected products and that more or less traditional techniques were used. In most cases sake is produced in Kobe; this one however is from the northern part of Honshu. This sake is light, yet it still has a bit of umami. The taste is refreshing, floral and mineral with a clear but pleasant presence of alcohol (15,5%). It works wonderful, with the fish, the sesame and the pickles.

What You Need

  • Small piece of Tuna (125 gram)
  • White Sesame seeds
  • Olive Oil
  • Sesame Oil
  • Pickled Cucumber

What You Do

We want the tuna to be red on the inside and the sesame seeds gently roasted. Best is to buy a fairly thick slice of tuna and make sure it’s cold. Dry the tuna with some kitchen paper, coat both sides with the sesame seeds and fry in oil in a hot non-sticky pan. Keep it moving. Monitor the side of the slice. Turn the tuna when you see the beginning of a crust. Ideally the sesame seeds are now light golden brown. When ready, quickly transfer to a cutting board and slice. Put on a warm plate, drizzle some excellent sesame oil over the tuna and garnish with pickled cucumber.

 


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