I love ahi tuna. Just give me a big ol' bright pinky red slab of raw ahi and I'm a happy girl. The absolute best seared ahi tuna I have ever eaten was actually in Ann Arbor, Michigan, when we were there for my sister-in-law's (Mariel) graduation from UM. She took us to a really nice restaurant (the name escapes me) and I just about cried when my entree was all gone. It was that good, and I have yet to meet its equal. But, that doesn't stop me from trying.
This recipe is from Epicurious, and Mariel loves to make it. She toasts the whole spices and then grinds them in a mini-coffee grinder. Tre chic. We loved it so much that Alex re-created the recipe the other night. It was almost as good as hers...almost. The whole spices really make a difference, so if you can get them, please do so! The whole recipe can be found here, but we only use the spice mixture (not the whole aioli sauce).
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
1.5 tsp kosher salt, divided
2 1/2 pounds ahi tuna steaks (serves 6, about 1 1/4 inches thick)
Combine the first 3 ingredients in heavy small skillet. Toast over medium heat until fragrant, shaking skillet occasionally, about 3 minutes. Grind spice mixture in spice grinder (or a coffee grinder, small immersion blender, etc). Transfer to bowl; mix in 1 teaspoon salt. Prepare barbecue or your non-stick skillet (high heat). Coat the tuna with about 4-6 tablespoons oil. Sprinkle with spice mixture, making sure to fully cover the tuna. Grill tuna until seared outside and rare in center, about 4 minutes per side. Let it rest for about 10 minutes, then slice and serve.