Nori Crusted Ahi with Soy-Lime-Honey-Wasabi glaze, over Pad Thai Stir Fry

MMMmmmmmm, Tuna. So, the whole seared tuna thing is about as cliche as you can get these days. Even Nebraska steak houses have a seared tuna appetizer, and there’s not much originality you can present with the fish these days.

On the other hand, why is that different from a steak bearnaise or a shellfish bisque? It’s relatively new, but it is somewhat of a fusion classic in modern cuisine. It could be worse — it could be fried mozerella sticks or something.

My favorite restaurant in South Beach Miami is Nemo’s (which opened long before Pixar). One of their signature dishes is a softball-sized chunk of tuna, rolled in nori seaweed, seared, and presented with a sesame seared rice-ball. It’s too good for words.

Today, one of my fish suppliers had AAA-grade sashimi yellowfin tuna on sale, ruby-red and glistening, and the muscle grains were tight and compact. So, I did my part to riff off of the Nemo’s.

I made a honey-lime-soy glaze, and served the tuna over a glaze-wasabi stir fry of vegetables and pad thai noodles.

In a bowl, I juiced two limes, put in some rice vinegar, a couple tablespoons of honey, and soy sauce.

I tore up some nori seaweed and processed it until it was just flakes — eerily sort of like fish-food flakes.

Mmmmm. Glistening tuna.

Tuna is dipped in the glaze, then dipped and sprinkled with the nori flakes. It looks messy, but that seaweed taste is better than panko. The tuna is then tossed in the fridge to keep cold.

The rest of the glaze becomes a sauce. I toss it in a saucepan with a cup of shrimp stock. Reduce by at least half.

Meanwhile I chop the veggies for the stir-fry. Two carrot sticks, cut diagonally and on a bias so that they show up as ovals. Mushrooms (criminis) sliced thinly. Scallions chopped diagonally, but in large chunks. Garlic minced.

The carrots are softened and seared in vegetable oil, then the mushrooms are added to soften. When softened, remove to a plate, leaving the hot pan ready for the noodles.

The pad thai noodles have already been softened — boil salted water, take off the heat and toss in the noodles for 8 minutes. When ready, toss in the heated pan. A couple tosses, then throw in the carrots and mushrooms, and the raw garlic and scallions.

At the same time, vegetable oil has been heated almost (but not quite) to the smoke-point. I threw in the tuna to sear the first side.

As the tuna sears, I added the reduced glaze and shrimp stock to the stir-fry, and added wasabi paste

Flip the tuna after a couple minutes, then after a minute or two more, remove and slice against the grain and on a slight bias

Noodles and veggies, with sauce, tuna layered on top.

Overall, the tuna itself was inspired by the Nemo chef who came up with the idea in the first place. The rest of the stir-fry was really more doodling on my part than anything else — the tuna was the star, and the noodles/veggies/sauce was a background. Except, through the tradition of nigiri sushi, the tuna draped with the wasabi/soy sauce worked really amazingly with the rice noodles. What a classic taste, almost an equal to steak and bearnaise in culinary history. A little earthy criminis, mixed with the bite of scallions, and I really enjoyed eating this meal as much as cooking it.


  1. michelle says:

    good god, that’s some gorgeous looking tuna.

    i remain totally in awe of all your pan-flipping shots.

  2. Fotocuisine says:

    heheh thanks :) and it was so incredibly good :)

  3. stunning photos! completely blew me away and can’t wait to give this recipe a try this week.
    also, that tuna is amazing. it looks very fresh…oooh. love fish.

  4. Delicious recipe and amazing pictures :) Especially the one of flying carrots!

  5. DocChuck says:

    I prefer to eat my food cooked, but once again your photography has no equal.

    I’d like a T-shirt (xxl) made from the carrot-flipping shot!

  6. very nice…….seared tuna w. nori!

    love the actions pix….

  7. Jonathan says:

    all i can say is – beautiful tuna. the color looks like it was sharpened in photoshop it’s so bright! even if it was, i bet you it looked pretty close to the original. i really like the idea of the ground up nori… delish!

  8. Fotocuisine says:

    diva – Thank you! and yes the tuna was uber fresh and amazing :)
    margot – hehe thanks! yeah the carrots is one of my favs, mainly cause the wall of oil in between the carrots, that was a nice surprise :)
    jonathan – wasn’t sharpened much at all, not enough to effect the color, the tuna was that red and amazing looking :)

  9. petermarcus says:

    Diva — Thanks! That tuna was amazingly fresh, and that just notched it up amazingly.

    C&V — Thanks :) I flip veggies a lot, and Christey takes dozens and dozens of shots. Sometimes, we get lucky ;)

    TMG — Thank you!

    Jonathan — I was wandering around the store trying to figure out what I was going to cook and those tuna jumped out at me like a neon sign. They were really that fresh and vibrant — Christey did a great job capturing the color. The nori wasn’t my idea, but I am a bit smug that I figured out that the glaze underneath helped the nori stick, while giving it some good flavor layers after being seared!

  10. norecipes says:

    Looks delicious. Amazing photos of the veggies being tossed!

  11. That tuna sure looks beautiful! I also love the pan flipping shots! How fun!

  12. culinarysherpas says:

    It’s true. Seared Tune may be a cliche, but who cares. It always tastes soooooo good.
    As always, beautiful photography.

  13. culinarysherpas says:

    Tune! Ha Ha….I meant Tuna.

  14. The last time I had seriously-good seared ahi tuna was a couple years ago in the upstairs dining room at Wolfgang Puck’s in Downtown Disney in Orlando. If you head over there and try it you’ll find that, as good as theirs is, yours looks much more amazing and by far even more appetizing!

  15. Joe C says:

    Making this tonite. How long per side to sear that tuna? I’m afraid of overcooking/

  16. Nuria says:

    Hey, I am so happy I found you ;)
    You have such wonderful recipes and pictures. Truly amazing the one of the flying carrots and mushrooms… bravo.

    I´m immediately adding you to my favs.

  17. petermarcus says:

    Luna — Thanks for that! We eat at Disney a lot (it’s an hour or so away), but haven’t hit Puck’s yet.

    Joe C — Sorry, I was traveling across the state all weekend and wasn’t online. For me, really, it’s just a minute or two, but you can see the white creep up the side of the tuna as it cooks. You can poke into it with a knife, too — the amount of sear is to taste, but 1/4 inch or so of sear is good enough for me.

    Nuria — Thanks!

  18. jshively says:

    That tuna looks amazing and the pan flipping pictures are awesome.

    Great job!

  19. natalie says:

    wow, this dish looks amazing!! love the “action” shots too!!! def will have to try this (my husband looooves seared tuna!)

  20. Maryann says:

    Cool shots! woohoo! :)

  21. Aaron K says:

    Ok….you are my hero! -Aaron K

  22. Y says:

    Love those action stir fry shots! :) They look like food sculptures.

  23. Maggie says:

    I love the action shots!!! I can just see myself tossing food all over the kitchen trying to get even one like that.

  24. Uncle Frog says:

    Wow! That is some incredibly good looking tuna. Starting with the freshest of fresh is a huge advantage I would think. And yeah, the action shots are crystal clear and amazingly appetizing. I feel like I’ve already had a culinary experience and I haven’t even eaten anything. YUM!

  25. Lynne Daley says:

    Congrats on your DMBLGIT win.