Three Seed Crusted Ahi with Lima Beans, Corn and Pancetta

IMG_6108Want to impress the dinner company? This one’s it. It presents like it came out of a restaurant kitchen, and on top of that, it’s really quick and easy so you won’t be slaving over the stove. Key is buying really high quality tuna steaks (I got mine at Costco) and cooking exactly as instructed in the recipe to get a great sear with the crunch of the seeds (and pop of tart from the mustard seeds). On top of the mix of corn, lima beans, roasted red pepper and salty pancetta, it couldn’t be simpler. (Recipe courtesy of the Wine Lover’s Cookbook.)


IMG_6111TW’s Tips

  • You can roast the red bell pepper in advance, slice and reserve.
  • Use fresh corn if you have the opportunity and it’s in season.
  • The pan really pops a lot when the tuna hits it — and when the recipe says high heat, it means high heat. This will give it a good sear but keep it rare inside. This is a must for the best taste and texture.



Three Seed Crusted Ahi with Lima Beans, Corn and Pancetta


  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 4 ounces pancetta or bacon
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 pound shelled fresh of frozen lima beans
  • 3/4 cup corn kernels
  • 2 pounds of tuna (Ahi/yellowtail), cut into 6 steaks
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • Minced green onions for garnish


In a preheated 350 degree oven, roast bell pepper for 30 minutes on a baking sheet. Remove from oven and place in a brown paper bag for 8-10 minutes. Remove and peel off skin. Remove stems, seeds and white ribs. Dice pepper and reserve for lima beans.

Chop pancetta into small pieces. In a medium, nonstick saute pan or skillet, saute pancetta in olive oil over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until lightly browned. Remove, pat dry and reserve.

In a medium pot, bring stock and shallots to a boil, add lima beans and simmer uncovered for 15-17 minutes. Don’t overcook; beans should be cooked to just past al dente so that they are cooked through but not overcooked and mushy. Discard most of remaining stock. Stir in corn kernels, pancetta and roasted pepper with beans and keep warm until ready to serve.

Using a pastry brush (or your hands) coat tuna steaks with olive oil on all sides. Mix seeds, salt and pepper together in a bowl and coat tuna evenly on top and bottom with the mixture.

Heat a large sauté pan over high heat. When very hot, add tuna to the pan. It will sizzle a lot when you first add the ahi because the pan is so hot. Sear for 2 to 3 minutes per side, making sure you don’t overcook it. It should be very rare inside; overcooking will completely change the texture of the meat and make it rubbery. Slice thinly with a sharp knife.

To serve, spoon lima beans onto plates with a little of the remaining liquid. Top with thinly sliced ahi. Garnish with green onions.


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