Ben Laurie blathering

Pepper-crusted Tuna

I came across this on my frequent travels to the US (where they tend to call it pepper-crusted ahi, or even, rather redundantly, pepper-crusted ahi tuna). I don’t think I’ve ever seen it in the UK, but it is fantastically easy to cook. And delicious.

Tuna steaks (nice and fresh, so you can leave them rare)
Black peppercorns
Szechuan pepper (optional)

Crush the peppercorns in a pestle and mortar (or mortar and pestle if you’re American). They don’t need to be particularly finally divided, but try to at least split each one in half. Spread half the mix over one side of your tuna steaks and press it in – it sticks surprisingly well. Turn over and repeat. Then fry in hot olive oil for about 4 minutes a side (up to 8 if you’re too chicken for rare tuna, but I promise it tastes/feels much better rare). Do not keep turning them over, turn them just once. Sprinkle on some sea salt when done.

That’s it.

I often serve with plain boiled rice and pak choi.


  1. If you have a chimney starter for a charcoal grill and an uncoated metal cooling rack, Alton Brown recommends firing those tuna steaks on that. Quick high heat to really nail that maillard reaction.

    Comment by Aaron — 21 May 2011 @ 17:30

  2. Ahi (yellowfin) tuna is distinct from types like Bigeye, and Bluefin (my favorite). If you get some really fresh it slices up for awesome sushi, and can be cajun blackened for a very different cooked experience also.

    Comment by Robert Nice — 30 May 2011 @ 15:34

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