This Ginger Orange Seared Ahi Tuna is a fishy take on Orange Chicken. This delicious dinner show-stopper is easy to prepare and ready in 15 minutes. This post is sponsored by Orca Bay Seafoods, but as always, all opinions are my own.
Last year, I fell in love. Yes, that’s right– I fell head over heels for a fish. Which fish? Was it salmon that captured my heart? Cod that gave me a giddy smile? Trout that made me gush to all my friends? No, no, and nope! (Although I won’t lie– I love all those fish too!) This time, it was ahi tuna that made my heart skip a beat, and I just can’t get enough! It’s flavor-packed, it’s filling and meaty, and best of all– it’s EASY! As in, ridiculously easy. This Ginger Orange Seared Ahi Tuna is a take on the meatier Orange Chicken. It’s marinated for ten minutes, cooks in about one minute (yes that’s right– ONE minute), and is topped off with a simple sauce made from the marinade.
If you’re wondering how a fish-obsessed, seafood junkie like me hadn’t eaten ahi tuna until a year ago, here’s what happened. I have eaten it before. In fact, I’ve eaten ahi tuna FOR YEARS. Here’s how my ahi tuna experiences went– I’d order it at a restaurant, cringe when it came out looking like bright red raw beef, and then I’d eat it anyway. Sometimes it was delicious, but more often it was ‘eh.’ I’d actually given up on ahi tuna, tired of the ‘will it be good?’ gamble, when I stumbled across a bag of Orca Bay Seafood’s Ahi Tuna at a local health food store last year. On a whim, I bought it. Here’s what happened.
When I got home, I opened the package of frozen tuna steaks, and immediately noticed one thing. One big thing. The tuna steaks weren’t bright red. Curious, I grabbed the packaging, double-checked the dates (yes, it was fresh), the labeling (line caught, non-gmo), and then decided to go ahead and thaw out the steaks and make some dinner. Dinner, by the way, was DELICIOUS. (This dinner, to be precise.)
Choosing High Quality Tuna
While I was marinating the steaks, I did some research. Why, exactly, is some ahi tuna bright red? The answer wasn’t very pretty. The answer is carbon monoxide. Yes, that’s right, seafood companies often spray carbon monoxide on their tuna to make it bright red. Don’t believe me? Check the label. I have. It’s right there on the package– I had just never noticed it before. The gas is supposed to be tasteless, but I still don’t want to eat it.
Does it affect the flavor of the tuna? It’s not supposed to, but in my opinion, companies that spray their fish with chemicals can’t necessarily be trusted to deliver the highest quality seafood anyway. Personally, I’m sticking with the chemical-free tuna.
For the last year, my absolute favorite tuna has come from Orca Bay. Need help finding their products? Check out their store finder, order online (using the promo code: champagnetastes for 15% off!), or try these vendors: Ingles, Giant Eagle, Dierbergs, and Natural Grocers / Vitamin Cottage. (Note: if you don’t have one of these stores in your local area, but do have a health food store, check there! That’s where I find my Orca Bay tuna.)
Once you’ve picked out your tuna steaks, you can start collecting everything else you need for this Ginger Orange Seared Ahi Tuna. Grab some green onions, rice vinegar (this should either be in the Asian food aisle or with other vinegars), soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger paste, and garlic paste. (Both the ginger and garlic pastes should be in the produce section near the fresh herbs. Alternatively, use fresh grated ginger and minced garlic). You’ll also need two oranges– any kind will do. I used a cara cara orange and a blood orange, but regular oranges will work just fine!
Making Ginger Orange Seared Ahi Tuna
Now that you’ve got all your ingredients together, you’re going to put most of them into a blender or food processor. Set the steaks and orange zest aside, and put the vinegar, soy sauce, orange juice, ginger, garlic, green onion, and brown sugar into a blender and blend it all up. Place the steaks in a dish to marinate, and pour the sauce all over them. Let them marinate for about 10 minutes. A few minutes before they’re done marinating, add some olive oil to a heavy pan, and set it over medium-high heat.
When the pan is hot and the oil is shimmering, remove the steaks from the marinade, sprinkle the orange zest over the steaks, and set them in the pan. Cook them for 15-30 seconds per side. You don’t want the tuna to cook through, you just want to sear the edges. Remove the steaks from the pan, and cover them with a towel to keep them warm. Lower the burner heat to medium, and pour the marinade into the pan. Let it cook down for about a minute. If it’s thicker than you like, add a little more orange juice. Serve your tuna in long thin slices with the sauce and a few diced green onions. Eat this delicious, meaty fish immediately, and you’ll fall in love with ahi tuna before the second bite.
A Note on Seafood Labeling: When you’re fish shopping in the seafood freezer aisle, you might be tempted to pay extra for the “sushi grade” label, but be aware– It means nothing. And by nothing, I mean that it isn’t regulated by the FDA.
A Note on Seafood Safety and Raw / Undercooked Fish: The safest way to consume raw fish is to make sure that it’s been flash-frozen to kill anything that could later make you sick. If you’re worried that frozen fish won’t be as tasty, keep in mind that even high-end sushi restaurants use frozen seafood. Also Note: I’m not a doctor, and I’m not giving medical advice here. If your doctor says you shouldn’t eat raw fish because you’re at a higher risk for getting sick (i.e.– if you’re pregnant or have a different medical condition that makes it unsafe), talk to them, not me, before chowing down on this lovely tuna.
Want more seafood? Try this:
Ginger Orange Seared Ahi Tuna
- 2 ahi tuna steaks (~6oz per person) (recommendation- Orca Bay tuna)
- 2 TB rice vinegar
- 2 TB soy sauce
- 2 oranges, juiced and zested
- 1 TB ginger paste (or shaved ginger)
- 1 TB garlic paste (or minced garlic)
- 2 green onions, plus more for garnish
- 1 TB brown sugar
- 1 TB olive oil
Blend vinegar, soy sauce, orange juice, ginger, garlic, green onions, and sugar together in a blender. Marinate tuna steaks in blended sauce for about 10 minutes. Sprinkle zest over steaks at the end of the marinade.
Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan (like a cast iron pan) on high, until oil is very hot. Reserving marinade for later, sear tuna for 15-30 seconds per side, then remove from pan. Reduce heat to medium and allow pan to cool slightly. Add marinade to pan, and stir with a wooden spoon. If sauce is too thick for your liking, add more orange juice. Remove sauce from heat.
Serve tuna in long thin strips with the sauce. Top with diced green onion if desired.
*Calorie Information was calculated per serving using My Fitness Pal.