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Keep dinner fare light, flavorful

Betty Rosbottom
Tribune Media Services

Fresh tuna is endlessly versatile. It can be sauteed, grilled, roasted or even served raw, all with delectable results. Another bonus is that tuna needs only a very short cooking time, even less than most fish.

For the light yet flavorful recipe that follows, tuna steaks are coated with sesame seeds, quickly pan seared and then popped into the oven for only a few minutes. The steaks are topped with dollops of Orange Sherry Mayo, a simple combination of good purchased mayonnaise, orange zest, shallots and a hint of sherry. Both fish and garnish take less than 30 minutes to prepare from start to finish. Sugar snap peas and basmati rice tossed with chopped scallions and minced fresh ginger would make easy and tempting sides.

Sesame-Coated Tuna Steaks with Orange Sherry Mayo

Serves 4

Mayo:

1⁄2 cup mayonnaise (use whole, not a reduced-fat variety, prepared mayonnaise)

1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 teaspoons finely chopped shallots

1 1/2 teaspoons dry sherry

1 1/4 teaspoons grated orange zest

Tuna:

1 egg white, beaten lightly

1/2 cup sesame seeds

Four 5-12 to 6-ounce tuna steaks, about 1-inch thick

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Canola oil

1 tablespoon chopped parsley for garnish

For the mayo, in a medium bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, parsley, shallots, sherry and orange zest. (Mayo can be prepared 4 hours ahead; cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature 30 minutes before using.)

When ready to cook, arrange a rack at center position and preheat oven to 450 F.

Place the beaten egg white in a small bowl and spread the sesame seeds on a dinner plate. Salt and pepper the tuna on both sides. Brush each steak with some egg white, then coat both sides with sesame seeds.

Use enough canola oil to lightly cover the bottom of a large, heavy ovenproof skillet. Place the pan over medium heat and, when oil is hot, sear the tuna for 1 minute, then turn and sear the other side for only 30 seconds. Place the skillet in the oven and roast for 2 minutes; then, using a metal spatula, turn steaks and roast for another 2 minutes for medium rare.

Remove the pan from the oven and place steaks on dinner plates. Garnish each with a dollop of prepared mayonnaise and a sprinkle of parsley.

Note: Tuna can overcook easily and turn dry, so it needs only a very short time in the oven. It is best when cooked to medium rare, which means that there should be a thin line of slightly uncooked meat than runs through the center of each steak.

By Court Cardinal

With fall here already, some of you may not be ready to give up those summer-style dinners just quite yet, especially with what appears to be the continued heat of a potential “Indian summer.”

This dish will keep your summer alive along with the wine that I have chosen to pair with it.

The tuna is flavorful but subtle. The shallots, sherry, orange zest and sesame seeds are where the dish really derives it flavors. Keeping that in mind, you need a delicate wine that has good acidity and vibrant flavors to complement the meal.

Kirkland’s Chardonnay from Costco is that wine. This Sonoma County Chardonnay is remarkable. It has notes of honeysuckle, pear and pineapple on the nose along with a crisp acidity, nuances of oak and ripe apple on the palate with a very slight creaminess on the finish.

Usually, you will find a bright fruit forward chardonnay lacking the creamy finish and conversely a big oaky chardonnay with a creamy finish lacking the fruit. This wine does a great job of balancing both without being overpowering in either style. Better yet, you are only going to pay $8.99 for it.

This wine is an easy choice for many dishes since it has such a great balance to it. Unless you get into some entrees with intense flavors that need an over the top chardonnay to cut through them, you can use this wine as your “go to” chardonnay.