Three Seed Crusted Seared Ahi


Source: Micki Seibel, March 2013

The meaty texture and deep red color make Ahi best when eaten raw or very rare. When it’s cooked it turns dry, and gray (think: canned tuna without the oil). Ahi is too expensive and way to good to deserve that. The difficulty with serving Ahi seared is, “how much cooking is too much?” It’s a split second from meaty and red to tough and gray. How to get that great texture, but still get the middle warm? Here’s your recipe for three seed crusted ahi seared to perfection.

The flavor of sesame pairs well with ahi, so I use two types of sesame seeds. The taste of black and white sesame seeds is very nearly the same. The use of both is to add color. The mustard seeds bring a mild flavor and the color is between the black and white sesame seeds.


  • 1 Ahi Steak about 3/4″ thick
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon of white sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of black sesame seeds (poppyseeds may also be substituted so long as you don’t have an upcoming drug test!)
  • 1 tablespoon of mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Remove the Ahi from the refrigerator about 20-30 minutes before you intend to cook it (see #1 under “How Not Screw It Up Below”)
  2. Using your hands, rub the outside of the Ahi with the sesame oil to coat it evenly on all sides.
  3. Mix the seeds in a small mixing bowl.
  4. Add the oil coated Ahi to the bowl and toss to coat it evenly with the seeds.
  5. Heat a saute pan over high heatuntil it is very hot.
  6. Add the Ahi. Sear for 1 minute and 30 seconds per side.
  7. Remove the Ahi and slice thinly to serve.

How to Not Screw It Up

  1. Setting the Ahi out 20-30 minutes before cooking helps to bring it closer to room temperature. This way, it takes less cooking time to warm the middle and less risk of crossing the line to overcooked.
  2. Give the pan several minutes on high heat before you lay down the Ahi. The pan needs to be as hot as it is going to get before you start your sear.