Tuna Recipe – Seared, Blackened Ahi with Tomato and Basil on Polenta

seared ahi recipe

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February 20ieth the hubby and I celebrated 39 years married and 40 years together. We met while I was working as a teller in a bank – it was my first job and I was working the drive in. He drove up and introduced himself and asked me out – all over the loudspeaker. Such a shy man! Our first date was to see the play The Elephant Man on Broadway. We dated for six weeks and got engaged and were married within a year. Had I my druthers and he his for that matter we would have been married much sooner but times were different and I was my father’s only daughter. So we waited. I was 21 and he was 30 – that also didn’t sit so well with my father. Plus my dad really liked my former boyfriend but he was a jerk to me. I knew as soon as I met my husband that he was the man for me and obviously I was right.


Since this year wasn’t one in which we could go out to dinner I asked him what he would like me to make him and he surprised me with a very retro answer – blackened tuna. I guess a retro meal for a retro marriage is somehow appropriate. I did manage to bring it into the new millennia and we were both happy with the meal. I’ll bring you the dessert recipe tomorrow – chocolate souffle. That was very tasty. While I’ve made many a cheese souffle and other types of savory souffle I’ve never made a sweet one. I was very pleased with the outcome.


seared ahi

Seared Ahi with Tomatoes and Basil on Polenta

Serves 2

  • 1 8oz sushi grade ahi steak
  • 1 TBS Arizona Dreaming Spice Blend* or 1/8 tsp each of chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, cilantro, lemon zest, chipotle pepper, jalepeno, and cocoa.
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 TBS flour
  • 1 TBS unsalted butter

For the Polenta

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cups water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 TBS unsalted butter

For the Tomatoes and Basil

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  • 2 14 – 15 oz cans of tomatoes preferably organic
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • salt to taste

Make the Polenta

  • Mix the water and milk together and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and add the cornmeal and salt.
  • Cook over low heat until the cornmeal is absorbed and the polenta is smooth and thick
  • Stir in the butter.
  • Set aside and keep warm.

Make the Tomatoes and Basil

  • Heat a large saute pan over med high. When hot add the olive oil
  • Drain the tomatoes and add them to the pan, reducing the heat to medium.
  • Cook the tomatoes until the begin to break down and adjust seasoning.

add basil to cooked down tomatoes

  • Add the basil and stir. Remove from heat, cover and keep warm.

Cook the Tuna

penzey's spice blend

  • Mix the flour, salt and spices on a small plate.
  • Dredge the tuna on both sides to coat.

coat tuna steak

  • Heat a cast iron pan or other heavy bottomed fry pan over med high heat until the pan is quite hot. Turn on your exhaust fan.
  • Add the butter to the hot pan. As soon as it is melted add the tuna steak.
  • Cook on one side for about one minute then turn and cook for one minute.
  • Remove the tuna steak and cut into thin slices with a sharp knife

seared ahi recipe

To Serve

  • place about a cup of polenta on the plate, top with half of the sliced tuna and then some of the tomatoes and basil

How Was the Seared Tuna Recipe?

Even though I gave a good chuckle at the hubby wanting something so very old fashioned for his anniversary dinner I did have to admit that it was quite yummy. The tuna steak from Know Seafood was of high quality and utterly delicious. The heat provided by the spices was delightful on the barely cooked tuna and tempered by the tomatoes and creamy polenta.

We both really enjoyed this meal and were satisfied by sharing the 8oz tuna fillet. I have mentioned before how we have found that we are eating less as we have gotten older. In earlier times I would probably have cooked two tuna steaks instead of one and obviously this is an easy meal to double up. The tomatoes would stay the same, the polenta wouldn’t need to be adjusted, you would just have to add some more spices.


It was a lovely way to celebrate, honor and remember 39 years of marriage. It’s not been all sunshine and roses but I wouldn’t want to have gone through this life with anyone else. We were hardly into our marriage when I got sick and this man has stood by and supported me and loved me no matter what. I have the best of men.

For dessert I made an easy to make and just as retro chocolate souffle for two. It was a lovely meal that we both enjoyed.

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