Heat the smallest pan for the job until it is very hot. Keep it over the flame, empty, for 3 minutes.
While the pan is heating, over-season the outside of the tuna with lots of salt and pepper. Don't just sprinkle the sesame seeds on, pour them. (Food Editor's note: I placed the seeds in a dish and pressed the tuna into the seeds on both the top and bottom sides).
Add a small amount of oil to the pan and swirl just before gently placing the tuna in the pan. Cook the tuna for maximum1 1/2 minutes on each side. (Food Editor's note: Don't be tempted to cook the fish longer. It is best when still rare, or uncooked in the middle, and will become dried out if left to cook longer.)
Gently remove the tuna to dinner plates. Immediately pour equal parts of soy sauce and maple syrup (just a tablespoon or two of each for 2 to 4 servings) into the hot pan. I like to add a splash of Frangelico – hazelnut liquor. Cook this on high heat until reduced in volume and thickened. Turn off heat, add a tablespoon of butter, whisk it in, and then pour the sauce around the tuna, not over it. Tuna has a delicate taste – a dip or two in the sauce will be enough.
John Upham is Director of Food Services at both Gann Academy – The New Jewish High School of Greater Boston and Camp Yavneh. He has a growing reputation in the local community as not only an able food service administrator, but as a quality chef. We hope this is the first of many recipes that he shares with ShalomBoston.com.