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I was on a short holiday in Kota Kinabalu with my friends when I spotted this dish on the menu of the hotel’s cafe. Seared tuna, I love tuna but had no idea how it would turn out in a sandwich with watercress? Turned out, it was really yummy. Ate it outdoors in the salty sea breeze in the company of good friends, nothing like a good ambience of comfort and relaxation to enhance a dish.

Of course I had to try to recreate the dish at home, as it seemed simple enough to attempt or so I thought. There are several aspects that make or break this dish, the bread quality, the crunch of the vegetables and the tuna of course.

Seared Tuna and Watercress sandwich
Seared Tuna and Watercress sandwich
 Ingredients (1 pax)
  1. A small loaf of focaccia bread or a bread of your choice sliced into two (I prefer soft breads to hard breads in any case)
  2. 1 sashimi grade Ahi tuna steak or tuna loin of about 250-300 grams. It has to be at least 1.5-2 inches in thickness and if possible, the thickness should remain uniform throughout the length of the fish.
  3. A handful of watercress, washed, drained and chopped into 1.5 inch pieces
  4. 1 tbsps of Japanese sesame dressing (used in salads typically, you can find this at most supermarkets like NTUC, the Marketplace and Meidi-ya.
  5. 2 wedges of lemon (each wedge is 1/8 of a lemon)
  6. 1.5 tbsps of olive oil
  7. Salt and Black pepper
  8. 1 tbsp Chopped spring onions

Cooking instructions

  1. Smear the olive oil and rub it all over the tuna and season the tuna with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a frying pan large enough to hold the tuna. On medium high heat.
  3. Once the pan is hot, place the tuna into the pan. It should sizzle as it touches the hot surface.
  4. Sear each side of the tuna for about 20 seconds, or 30 if the tuna has just been taken out of the fridge. The center of the tuna steak/loin should be completely raw. Just need a quick sear on the outer surface of the fish, you don’t want to cook the fish through.
  5. Set aside the tuna.
  6. Toss your watercress in the sesame dressing and squeeze a little lemon juice onto it. Make sure the watercress is not dripping wet otherwise it would make for a soggy sandwich. Set aside.
  7. You could butter the surface of the bread, however I try to opt for healthy cooking so I go without. Toast the surface of the bread on a grill or on a frying pan until golden brown.
  8. Slice the tuna into thick slices. You should get a raw, red centre surrounded by a light brown border which is the cooked area of the tuna.
  9. Arrange the watercress onto the bread, then top with the sliced tuna, the chopped spring onions and the other half of the bread. There you have it, salad, fish and bread all in one meal =)
A light, refreshing sandwich of seared tuna on a bed of watercress.
A light, refreshing sandwich of seared tuna on a bed of watercress.
Seared Tuna and Watercress sandwich