most stovetop cooking involves using some sort of fat to sizzle the food in, something to transfer the heat from the pan to the crisping edges of the meal. i’m an olive oil or butter person, myself (just say no to margarine, and why bother with canola oil?), and usually these 2 get me through most anything i want to try out.
Chris, though, has brought over a wide assortment of strange spices & sauces. most of these simply end up as a part of his various spice rubs for meat, but lately, he’s hooked me on sesame oil. it has a warm, delicious smell that makes you instantly recognize why it’s the basis for plenty of massage oils; the aroma released when cooking with it though, is divine. sesame oil cooks at a higher temperature (if i understand correctly), and is thusly perfect for zapping things quickly while keeping them juicy and fresh.
clearly, this is ideal for a very simple tuna steak: let your slab of delicious red tuna come to room temperature. gently rinse it off and pat dry with a paper towel (not critical, and i don’t do it with all fish, but i find that tuna tends to show up pretty bloody), then set on a small plate. lightly dust the whole upper surface with sesame seeds. get a pan very hot (i put mine in an oven cranked to 390 or so, before taking it out and putting it on a stove on high heat), add some sesame oil, and sear the seeded side. add more seeds to the naked side, and gently flip with tongs when the steak releases itself from the pan. for very rare tuna, just sear generously on each side. for slightly more done fish, pop into the oven after searing both sides and let it gently cook for a short while. mayo cut with a little wasabi paste makes a nice accompaniment.