September 1, 2010

Spicy Sesame Seared Tuna Steak, and Other Thoughts


Last night was a hot one. There was a brisk breeze that provided little relief with its warm gusts, hinting heavily at the hurricane heading toward us. 

It was one of those nights where the sun was fire-red in the sky and glowed brighter and deeper as it sunk lower and lower. I watched it fall like a fire between the Wharton Building and one of Penn's dormitory high rises, then finally disappear completely.

I sat outside with the dog and my books to study, but only stared out at the scene of the Schuylkill River Banks. Joggers, parents with strollers, bikers, lovers. I wanted to remember the night -- the way it looked, felt, smelled.

I am bad with change. I take episodes of change to heart and carry them with me with a full weight. Change is why I wanted to soak up every minute of last night; it was the evening before my last day at work, a job I've been in for two years, and my first and only job I've had since moving to Philadelphia. Next Tuesday starts a new chapter in my personal and professional life, when I begin as a counseling intern at a Philly high school.
It's going to be worlds different.

Perhaps that is why this creature of habit needed one thing not to change last night. I needed an element of predictability and comfort, and so I prepared a dinner for myself that I almost always prepare when I'm alone and M is on call for the night: a tuna steak.

This tuna steak was hot and fiery, like the setting sun. Yet it cooled itself with a glaze of soy and garlic. It filled the air of my apartment with the succulent smell of smoking sesame oil, pungent and savory. Each time I walked through my own front door the lingering aroma caused me to inhale deeply.

What a delicious evening in every way.

Maybe tuna steaks on nights alone are my own little element of predictability. And yet, this recipe was everything but predictable, which provided the perfect balance for my whirlwind of thoughts. 


Change, here I come.

Sesame Seared Tuna Steak: serves one, but simply multiply the ingredients and number of steaks to serve more than one. Delicious with rice or noodles for a quick and lovely dinner.
1 thick tuna steak 
4 T. soy sauce
1 t. hot chili paste
1 t. garlic powder
1 T. sesame seeds
1 T. hot or regular sesame oil

Mix the soy sauce, chili paste, and garlic powder in a shallow dish. Pat the tuna steak dry, then press into the marinade on both sides. Allow to sit in the marinade for 15 minutes. Heat a pan to medium hot, then add the sesame oil. Meanwhile, press the tuna steak into the sesame seeds on both sides, then place the tuna steak down into the hot oiled pan. Allow to cook for two minutes a side, then remove immediately. 

Serve with wilted spinach or green beans cooked in the remainder of the marinade.

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