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Seared Tuna Method??

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Although I'm an experienced cook, I'm confused about this. I think I remember reading, the last time I did seared tuna, that you should sear it in a dry skillet. That's counterintuitive, though. Should I add oil or not? Please help, company coming tomorrow!

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  1. I sear tuna in a blazingly hot cast-iron skillet. I don't put oil in the skillet, but I do season and lightly oil the tuna. I aim for about 45 seconds per side.

    1. I sear it in a non-stick pan, but like Joan, I rub it with a little oil first

      1. I spray it with oil, dip it in cajun seasoning and sear in a really hot skillet. Preferably outside so you don't set off the fire detector, if you have a side burner on your BBQ that's good. (If you put oil first, the smoke would choke you) We also like it rare in the middle, so I stick it in the freezer for 15-20 minutes before to keep the center reddish.

        1. LIke others have said, you're either going to have oil your pan or the tuna. One or the other; otherwise you'll end up with tuna crusted pans.

          1. I agree with the others...I oil the fish...I get my cast iron white hot and oil and season Tuna, then sear to rare

            1. I also sear on very hot cast iron, but I also like the Alton Brown method of firing up some charcoal in a chimney starter and instead of dumping the charcoal into a grill, just put a grate on top. Grilling on a jet engine as AB describes it.

              If the pan is hot enough you probably don't need to oil the fish at all. I always use a marinade that includes a bit of oil, but I suspect tuna is fatty enough on its own not to stick. If you roll the tuna in sesame seeds the oil in the seeds will be enough to prevent sticking.

              But heat is the key. And I would not use non-stick. If you get a non-stick pan as hot as it needs to be you will destroy the finish and possibly release toxic gasses that will kill your canary.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Zeldog

                I saw that on Alton Brown's too, I tried it with something else - that is friggin hot!!!!

                1. re: Zeldog

                  We always do the Alton Brown chimney method for tuna, and have used it for other items as well. Brilliant solution if you ask me.

                2. It also depends on how thick you want that cooked layer for your tataki.

                  Pan method (with oil on the tuna) results in the thickest as a pan will only get so hot over gas/induction.

                  Charcoal is the method frequently used in Asia and can produce a very cooked layer, but not necessarily practical when all one has is one piece to do. Blowtorch also offers similarly thin results but doesn't quite produce the same flavor as charcoal does.