White and black sesame encrusted seared tuna steaks, topped with butter, sliced, and served alongside tender samphire greens.

Sesame Seared Tuna with Buttered Samphire | adrunkenduck.com

This is a very quick and easy version of tuna to whip up.  No muss, no fuss.  Grill seared on each sesame encrusted side for 3 minutes, these tuna steaks will be ready lickety-split.

We finish the steaks with a little dollop of butter – and that’s all you need. So simple. If there’s any visual you take away from this recipe, let it be butter melting over a seared tuna steak.  It’s almost a requirement if you ask me, and now that my modeling career is on hold, it all works out perfectly.

You know, ’cause models and butter… it’s our secret shame.

Anyway, serve your steaks whole or, as we prefer, slice them against the grain and expose their beautiful ruby-red interior.  Everyone has that moment when they discover they love seared tuna – it’s all about the flavor and that bright ruby-red color.

Sesame Seared Tuna with Buttered Samphire | adrunkenduck.com

Samphire, sometimes known as sea asparagus (and several other regional names),  is a crisp and vibrant green coastal sea vegetable.  Because it grows in such close proximity to the ocean, samphire has a fresh and somewhat salty taste.

It’s delicious ocean flavor compliments seafood dishes.  Each strand of samphire resembles thin asparagus spears and requires very little cooking time.  With a good long rinse in cold water, you can eat them raw in a salad, but I prefer them boiled which removes some of their salty flavor.

Select tuna steaks from your fishmonger which are firm, never mushy, and have a nice clean ocean smell.  They should not ever smell fishy.

Sesame Seared Tuna with Samphire
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 4 tuna steaks, 6 to 8 ounces each
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • 4 teaspoons butter
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 lb samphire, rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  1. Preheat grill or cast iron pan to medium-high. Coat with a little canola or olive oil.
  2. Coat each tuna steak lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper - use a bare minimum of salt as samphire can be salty.
  3. Using tongs, press each side the tuna steaks into sesame seeds which you've scattered onto a flat plate. We do the black seeds first on one plate and the white seeds next on a separate plate.
  4. Grill each tuna steak for 2½ to 3 minutes per side. The interior of each steak should remain very pink.
  5. Searing Tuna Steaks on Grill | adrunkenduck.com
  6. Top each tuna steak with 1 teaspoon of butter. Allow butter to melt as steaks rest before slicing.
  7. Make samphire: Prior to starting the steaks, bring 2-quart pot filled with water to a boil. Do not salt water.
  8. Also, before grilling the steaks, rinse samphire thoroughly in cold water for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove any woody stems you may come across. Rinsing helps remove grit and some of the salt flavor.
  9. As soon as the steaks come off of the grill, drop samphire into boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from water, drain, and serve immediately with a teaspoon of unsalted butter or olive oil. You could steam samphire, but boiling helps to wash away some extra saltiness.
  10. Assemble plate: Your tuna steaks should have rested for 5 to 8 minutes before slicing into thin strips, against the grain, with a very sharp knife. This is where a sharp knife really comes in handy. Tuna is very delicate and a dull blade will tear the fish apart.
  11. Arrange tuna on each plate alongside a small serving of buttered samphire. Serve immediately.
There are greenhouses which grown samphire year round, but it's primarily available in summer months from May to September.

Aside from butter, samphire is also traditionally dressed with a splash of cider vinegar and black pepper.

Though samphire has its own unique flavor, you could substitute with cooked spinach or asparagus.