Seared Tuna with Ginger Shiitake Sauce Inspired by Pelican Grill

Seared Tuna with Mushroom Packets I’m still sick today but definitely on the mend but since I still not up to snuff I’m posting about another dish that I cooked last week before I came down with the flu. Tuna with mushrooms: to me that sounds like a weird combination but I’ve come across fish and mushroom dishes on several menus lately so I’m sure all those chefs can’t be wrong.Grilled AsparagusGrilled Artichoke

So when I saw Grilled Tuna with Mushroom Packets at the Pelican Grill I thought it was time to man up and try this combo. I’ve been told its good to try new foods when your hungry and after a long day of traveling, starting with a 7:00 am flight to sunny California, I was starving.  We proceeded to order way too much food.

The tomato bruschetta that we started with was made me jealous of California’s year round growing season and Reed’s roasted asparagus was delicious. I think my grilled artichoke could have been better if they’d used baby artichokes. The tuna and mushroom combo was good. The waiter looked disappointed in me when I asked him to have it cooked to medium instead of rare but that’s how I like my tuna so tough cookies. I’m pretty sure the mushroom packets were filled with the same mushrooms they used for the mushroom bruschetta topping. Either way these extravagantly oversized wontons were good but a little monochromatic in terms of flavor. I wished there’d been more flavors thrown in there but as a starting point tuna, mushrooms and butter all play well together.

Chopped mushrooms, cilantro, scallions, ginger, and garlic

Chopped mushrooms, cilantro, scallions, ginger, and garlic

Starting the sauce for Tuna with Ginger Shittake SauceWhen I set out to make this dish I was going to follow it more closely but after looking at  the recipe and reviews for Pan-Seared Tuna with Ginger-Shiitake Cream Sauce on Epicurious I decided to veer more in that direction. Plus I have hard time getting excited about making my own mushroom packets (everyone has their DIY limits). On Epicurious the over 750 reviewers declared that they would make the Pan-Seared Tuna recipe again and 94% awarded it with a 4 forks rating. If your not familiar with Epicurious that’s a phenomenal endorsement however, as usually, I needed to adjust a few things…Finishing the Ginger Shittake Sauce for the TunaSearing the Tuna

Instead of using cream as a base for the sauce I opted for coconut milk. With ginger, cilantro and lime going in coconut milk just sounded so much more fitting than cream. Second, I’m trying to cut down on carbs (even though this would be amazing with coconut cilantro rice as one of the reviews suggested) so I increased the amount of mushrooms relative to the coconut milk and kept the ginger cilantro and lime levels the almost the same because I like bold flavors. This way the multitude of mushrooms helps take the place of the rice that you’d usually serve with it. Lastly, I made the sauce first and while it thickened I started on the tuna because I didn’t want the tuna to dry out while it warmed in the oven.Tuna with Ginger Shittake Sauce

Another thing about this tuna dish that really sold me on it was that its quick and easy to make but looks and tastes like you spend a lot of time on it.

Seared Tuna with Ginger-Shiitake Sauce (serves 2)

(Total time: 15-20 minutes)
  • 2 6-ounce tuna steaks, each about 1 inch thick
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil (I used canola & it worked just fine, I didn’t have peanut oil handy)
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk (I used regular because I don’t think the lite milk would thicken up enough to make a good sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Fresh cilantro sprigs (optional)

Add butter, sliced green onions, cilantro, ginger and chopped garlic to same skillet and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Mix in mushrooms and soy sauce and simmer 30 seconds. Add coconut milk and simmer until sauce lightly coats back of spoon, about 3 minutes. Leave the coconut sauce on very low and stir occasionally while making the tuna.

Sprinkle both sides of tuna steaks with pepper and sesame seeds. Heat the oil in heavy large skillet over high heat. Once the pan is hot place the tuna steaks in the pan and sear for 2 minutes. Turn tuna over and continue cooking to desired doneness, about 2 minutes for rare or if you’re like me 4-5 minutes for medium.

Stir in the lime juice into the sauce.  Spoon sauce onto plates; arrange tuna  on top of the sauce. Garnish with cilantro sprigs, if desired.

*The Tuna with Ginger Shittake Sauce is great with braised bok choy and/or coconut rice

See the original recipe at



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