Weeknight Cooking

Dinner This Week: Sesame-Crusted Tuna

This week’s menus include Pan-Seared Sesame-Crusted Tuna Steaks, Spinach Dal with Cumin and Mustard Seeds, and Pork Tenderloin Steaks for dinner in about an hour.

Published June 4, 2021.

Every week, Executive Food Editor Keith Dresser pairs each main dish with a side to give you a complete, satisfying dinner without the guesswork. Look for the game plan section to learn tips on how to streamline your kitchen work so dinner comes together quicker.

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Dinner 1: Sesame-Crusted Tuna and Roasted Asparagus

Game Plan: Start by preheating the oven with a rimmed baking sheet inside for the asparagus. While the oven heats, prep the asparagus and the tuna. Once the asparagus is roasting, sear the tuna.

We take a minimalist route for Pan-Seared Sesame-Crusted Tuna Steaks. We coat the steaks in a little oil and then press them into sesame seeds. We then simply sear them over high heat until the sesame seeds are lightly browned and the tuna is rare to medium-rare. For Roasted Asparagus, we start with relatively thick spears and cook them on a preheated baking sheet in a 500-degree oven to ensure that they brown deeply and quickly. Not moving the spears during roasting allows them to get a rich sear on one side and remain vibrant green on the other, which helps retain their freshness and tender snap.

Printable Shopping Lists: Sesame-Crusted Tuna and Roasted Asparagus

Equipment Review

12-Inch Nonstick Skillets

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Dinner 2: Spinach Dal and Basmati Rice

Game Plan: Prep and start cooking the dal. Once the dal is simmering, cook the rice. As soon as the rice is removed from the heat to stand, complete the dal (steps 3 and 4).

Quick-cooking red lentils are the centerpiece of our weeknight Palak Dal. Once the lentils are softened, a vigorous whisk transforms them into a rustic, porridge-like stew without using a blender or food processor. Seasoning the lentils with a tadka (whole spices sizzled in ghee with aromatics) right before serving gives the dish loads of complexity, a gorgeous appearance, and an enticing aroma. For Basmati Rice Pilaf with light, fluffy, aromatic grains, we first rinse the rice to remove excess starch. Next, we sizzle whole spices in butter before toasting the rice itself. Finally, we add water and then cook the rice over low heat before removing it from the heat and allowing it to steam.

Printable Shopping Lists: Spinach Dal with Basmati Rice

Equipment Review

All-Purpose Whisks

Do you need a bunch of different shapes and styles crowding your kitchen, or can one perfect whisk do it all?
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Dinner 3: Pan-Seared Pork Tenderloin Steaks and Sugar Snap Peas

Game Plan: Prep and cook the pork through step 2. While the pork is in the oven, prep all of the ingredients for the sugar snap peas and make the almond topping (step 1). While the pork rests after searing (step 4), wipe out the skillet and use it to cook the peas.

For Perfect Pan-Seared Pork Tenderloin Steaks, we lightly pound tenderloins to create two flat sides for searing, then halve them crosswise to create moderately sized steaks that are easy to maneuver in the pan. Before searing, we slowly cook the pork in a low oven to ensure that it's rosy and moist from edge to edge. Finally, for great browning, we pat the pork very dry before searing it on the stovetop. To guarantee that our Sugar Snap Peas with Almonds, Coriander, and Orange Zest cook evenly, we use a hybrid method of steaming the peas briefly before sautéing them; the trapped steam transfers heat more efficiently than air does so that the pods cook through quickly. Cutting the peas in half further reduces the cooking time so the pods retain more of their snap, and the pockets capture the seasonings.

Printable Shopping ListsPan-Seared Pork Tenderloin and Sugar Snap Peas

To view more quick weeknight dinner ideas, check out the rest of the Dinner This Week series.


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