Open Sesame

I booked a last-minute trip home to Des Moines this past weekend. With Monday off work and my husband in Jamaica soaking up the sun, it was perfect timing to find an incredible e-fare.

I spent the majority of the two days hanging out with my friend and meeting her baby girl. Despite this wonderful new addition to her life, we were still able to go out for lunch and squeeze in a shopping trip like usual.

During our outing, my friend took me to All Spice, an enticing store in the East Village that features an assortment of oils, vinegars and spices (which I’ve mentioned before). While I was there, I picked up a jar of black sesame seeds, and some other miscellaneous flavors missing from my spice cabinet.

I didn’t waste any time using them either. As our welcome home from Des Moines and Jamaica dinner, I made Seared Sesame-Crusted Tuna and Udon Noodles with Vegetable Stir-Fry. The crunch of the sesame seeds was a nice contrast to the succulent tuna. I loved the Asian flavors and array of vegetables in the udon noodles. The entire meal was a savored treat.

Seared Sesame-Crusted Tuna

What You Need

  • ¼ cup black sesame seeds
  • ½ cup white sesame seeds
  • 4 sushi grade or searing grade tuna steaks, each 6 ounces and 1 inch thick
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
  • Soy sauce for dipping

What To Do

  1. In a shallow dish, combine the black and white sesame seeds and stir to mix.
  2. Season the tuna with salt and pepper and dredge in the sesame seeds, coating the tuna evenly.
  3. In a searing pan over high heat, warm the oil until smoking. Arrange the tuna in the pan (do not overcrowd) and cook until the white sesame seeds start to turn golden underneath, about 1 minute. Turn the tuna and cook on that side until the sesame seeds start to turn golden, about 1 minute.
  4. Transfer the tuna to a cutting board and cut into ¼-inch-thick slices. Arrange the tuna on individual plates, overlapping the slices. Serve immediately with soy sauce for dipping.

Udon Noodles with Vegetable Stir-Fry

What You Need

  • 4 ounces of udon noodles
  • 1½ tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1½ tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 2½ teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 scallions, both white and light green parts, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 cup snow peas or sugar snap peas
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • ½ cup shredded carrots

What To Do

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the udon noodles and cook according to package directions. Then drain the noodles, shaking off any excess water, and set aside.
  2. Place the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil and ginger in a small bowl and whisk to mix. Set the soy sauce mixture aside.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the scallions, mushrooms, snow peas, broccoli, and carrots. Stir-fry until the vegetables begin to soften, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add the soy sauce mixture and udon noodles to the skillet and cook until the noodles are heated through and the flavors are blended, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle the cilantro over the noodles and serve.

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