Few dishes are tastier, or healthier, than a well-seared tuna steak. Searing is a meat cooking technique that creates and enhances rich flavors in the cut you are preparing by aggressively browning the surface. Ahi tuna has a flavorful and desirable texture that works well as pan-seared steaks. However, you can use the same searing technique for any meat, poultry or fish.
Pat the tuna steaks dry with a paper towel. Surface moisture inhibits browning, so you'll want to leave the surface as dry as possible. Sprinkle top of steaks with kosher salt.
Place the heavy metal cooking pan on stove top. Heat pan on medium-high heat for three to five minutes, until you smell hot metal and the air over the pan shimmers.
Place 2 tbsp. olive oil and 1/2 tbsp. butter into pan. As it heats, crush 1 tsp. whole peppercorns with mortar and pestle or pepper grinder.
Sauté peppercorns in oil and butter for four to five minute until they crackle. Raise heat to high until a drop of water sizzles in the pan. Place seasoned ahi tuna steaks, salted side down, on top of peppercorns. Sprinkle the top of steaks with kosher salt.
Let steaks cook for two minutes, then flip steaks over and cook an additional 1 1/2 to two minutes. Remove steaks from pan and let rest two minutes.
Slice steaks against the grain, fan slices out, and serve plated over rice or couscous.
If you are cooking thick steaks, lower heat to medium-high. Do not overcook. Middle of the tuna should be bright pink to red.
Use drippings in pan to create a cream sauce. Add whipping cream, or half-and-half to pan and stir the bits off of the bottom of the pan. Cook for five minutes on medium-low. Pour sauce over rice. Place fish on top of sauce.
Buy fresh tuna and cook it the same day. If unable to cook the same day, cook no later than one day after purchase.
Do not touch the fish until one side is done and the fillet is ready to flip over. Only flip the fish once.