I’m not usually a fan of seared sesame-crusted tuna, and I certainly think it’s overused on restaurant menus across America. But when I saw two fillets of fresh yellowtail at the market this week, I couldn’t help but scoop them up. I thought about different ways I could prepare it, but that darn Costco-size container of sesame seeds (belonging to my roommate, KDD) kept appearing in my head. And I realized, I can still cover it in sesame seeds without searing it and putting it on a bed of mixed greens. So I added some ginger, oyster mushrooms and snap peas to my basket and I was on my way.
Sesame Crusted Yellowtail with Oyster Mushrooms and Snap Peas (serves 2)
- 2 yellowtail fish fillets
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup milk (any kind, but I prefer nonfat)
- 4 TB water
- 1/2 cup buckwheat flour, plus 4 TB
- 3 TB white sesame seeds
- 1 TB toasted sesame oil
- 1 TB canola oil
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 TB fresh ginger, chopped
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1 TB soy sauce
- 1 tsp honey
- 2 scallions, sliced
- 2 bunches oyster mushrooms, bottoms of stem removed
- 1 cup snap peas
- salt and pepper to taste
Begin by preheating the oven to 400 degrees. In a shallow bowl, whisk together egg, milk and water. Add 4 TB flour to a small plate. Coat each fillet with the flour, then dip into the egg wash. In another shallow bowl, combine 1/2 cup flour with sesame seeds. Dredge each fillet in the sesame flour and set aside.
Heat oils a large skillet over a medium-high flame. Once the oil is hot, add fillets and lightly brown on each side for about two minutes per side. Transfer to a glass baking dish and bake in the oven for 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the ingredients in the same pan that you seared the fish. Sauté the garlic and ginger until fragrant, about a minute. Then add the wine, chicken broth, soy sauce and honey and bring to a simmer. Add the mushrooms, snap peas and scallions and continue to cook, reducing the sauce by about 1/2 until it starts to thicken. It will take about the same time as the fish to bake.
Remove fish from oven and set aside. In individual shallow bowls or serving plates, transfer equal portions of the mushrooms, snap peas and sauce. Top each plate with a yellowtail fillet and finish off with excess sauce from the pan.
I had a surprise dinner guest, my good friend/fellow industry member who will be known as Starry from this point forth. I wanted to impress her with my pairing selection, so I settled on Trefethen’s 2011 Viognier. The wine paired very well, offering some tropical notes and acidity to a rather rich fish dish. We both agreed that it would have paired equally well with a Loire or Chardonnay. Either way, Starry was both impressed with the pairing and my impromptu cooking skills. I too really liked the dish, and I look forward to improving it by adding a little bit of dry wasabi powder to the sesame crust. Too cliché, or just right?