Potato Crusted Sesame Tuna with Spicy Lime Dressing

Lightly seared tuna is a once in a while indulgence, and sesame is always a great partner.

My mother-in-law Pat was an accomplished chef and she taught me quite a few little tricks of the trade. One of her favorite ingredients to sneak into a high-end meal was potato flakes! This humble ingredient makes pretty terrible mashed potatoes, but is actually quite handy to thicken a soup, use in place of flour in potato latkes, or to crust a quick-cooking fish. 

The model recipe

She had a sole recipe that used a light smear of mustard on the fish and a firm press in the potato flakes. A quick brown on each side in bubbly butter and the dish was pretty much finished except for a squeeze of lemon and sprinkle of parsley. Since the flakes are already cooked, they brown quickly so you don’t overcook the fish, and there is an added bonus of a mild potato flavor, something I would never object to.  

Wouldn’t this be great on fresh tuna as well, since we sear it quickly? It worked beautifully, and I thank Pat for yet another great idea. 

Marine Stewardship Council

As delicious as it is, tuna is a fish we are careful about consuming, and not just for the expense and possible heavy metals. Tuna has been overfished around the globe with fully half of the world’s stock endangered. Always look for the Marine Stewardship Council blue label for certified sustainable seafood, whatever the fish you buy. These fish are monitored to prevent overfishing and also to protect other species of fish that would get caught in the harvesting process when large nets are used. For more information about this certification, visit https://www.msc.org/what-you-can-do/eat-sustainable-seafood/fish-to-eat/tuna

The humble potato flake

For potato flakes, I use Bob’s Red Mill I keep on the shelf in the pantry. This brand does not have palm oil and other chemicals, it’s just dried potatoes. I’d never use it to make a mash, but it is certainly handy to coat fish or other protein, even tofu, and to thicken some soups, so it earns its shelf space. I’ve used Pat’s trick to swap the flakes for the small amount of flour in potato latkes. It enhances the potato flavor, and the gluten-free people are grateful.

A chewy, textured rice

I served this with a delicious Forbidden Black Rice flavored with a star anise and a bay leaf while cooking. The chewy, nutty texture assures its place on the platter. The zucchini ribbons took about 20 seconds to steam, and I tossed a sliced lemon and a few shiitake mushroom on the hot grill pan to garnish it all. A delightful feast for four with less than a pound of tuna!

Potato Crusted Sesame Tuna with Spicy Lime Dressing

  • 2 sushi-grade tuna filets
  • 1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
  • ¼ cup Bob’s Red Mill dehydrated potato flakes
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, sliced thinly
  • 8 to 10 shiitake mushrooms
  • Scallions, sliced thinly


  • 1 tbsp. wasabi paste
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise, homemade, Hellman’s, or vegan
  • Zest and juice of a juicy lime (or two stingy ones)
  • 1 tbsp. capers, crushed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 

Thaw the tuna and pat dry. Place the potato flakes on a large plate or baking tray. Gently brush with the sesame oil, season on both sides with salt and pepper to taste, and press into the potato flakes, both sides.

Heat a cast-iron, grill pan, or other heavy skillet over high, and add the olive oil. Sear the tuna on both sides for about 90 seconds each. Remove to a plate and cover. Add the lemon and mushrooms to the pan and char.

To make the dressing, simply mix all ingredients together and thin with a little water or caper juice if too thick.

This is delicious served over vegetable ribbons or noodles, and some nutty Forbidden Black Rice. Garnish with the lemon and scallion slices.

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  1. It sounds super delicious and the presentation is so beautiful! I’ve never tried potato flakes but now you’ve made me curious ☺️

    1. The flakes are a humble ingredient and they make terrible mashed potatoes, but are delightful coating fish!

  2. Chef Mimi says:

    Yum! I’m intrigued by the potato flakes! Never heard of them.

    1. They are just dehydrated potatoes. Most of the brands have a lot of additives, but a few are just dehydrated potatoes.

  3. I’ve never used potato flakes, what an interesting tip!

  4. Wow! Great presentation!

    1. Thank you! It tasted every bit as good as it looks!

  5. What a beautiful and surely tasty meal. Bravo

    1. Thanks so much Doc V, it was really delicious!

  6. CarolCooks2 says:

    I remember my mother trying potato flakes when they first came out and I agree my abiding memory is of this disgusting gluey mash but it sounds like a good idea to use them as crust for fish 🙂

    1. I think they should be called “fish coating potato flakes” and forget the whole idea of revolting mash!

      1. CarolCooks2 says:

        Good idea, Dorothy…:)

  7. Ally Bean says:

    Looks delicious. I like your presentation photo. Stylish!

    1. Thanks Ally! I love putting everything all out on a bit platter and letting folks pick and choose. It looks more special, and saves me time plating too!

  8. Suzassippi says:

    Beautiful presentation and sounds delicious. I tried seared tuna once, and just could not do it. Maybe it was the chef, maybe it was me, maybe the northwest Texas girl has limits to her adventurous palate.

    1. Thank you! I know it is not for everyone, but you never know…

  9. Seared is the best way to enjoy tuna fish, and the additions you’ve used only make it better.!

    I’ve never used potato flakes, but I really like the idea of using it as a gluten free thickener. Thanks for recommending Bob’s Red mill. I’ll check it out. 🙂

    1. Thanks Ronit! Just one of those little tricks I learned from a master!

  10. HI Dorothy, thank you for this great tip about the potato flakes, I would not have thought of it myself. My husband likes tuna very much, but like you, we are careful what we buy in the way of fish.

    1. Thank you! I hope you give it a try!

  11. NativeNM says:

    You are a wealth of knowledge! Potato flakes sound like a great idea to give the tuna a crisp texture. I will try this next time we make tuna steaks.

    1. Thanks Jan! The real appreciation goes to my mother-in-law who was a wealth of knowledge about all things food!

  12. I bet this was delicious. Love the flavors you gave to the tuna.

    1. Thank you Jovina! It was tasty indeed.

  13. Christy B says:

    Adding potato flakes – Genius!

    1. A tip from a real cooking genius!

  14. Nancy says:

    Your presentation is beautiful! Looks absolutely delicious! Like the idea about potato flakes!
    Amazing inspiration!Thank you!

    1. Ah, thanks Nancy! We always take the first bite with our eyes!

  15. Sherry M says:

    that’s a great idea about the potato flakes. i tend to use panko for all sorts of things including coating fish or chicken etc but this sounds interesting.

    1. The flakes are much lighter, brown beautifully even on a thin fish, and lend a slight potato taste. A great secret ingredient!

  16. Potato flakes are one of those secret recipe tricks, that chefs know to elevate, extend or mask within a dish. I have seen them used in places many would not believe.

    Love that you have them here clearly out infront as a coating to that beautiful tuna.

    1. Thank’s Vince! Pat was an exquisite chef who owned a magnificent French restaurant. I remember the first time I saw the box of flakes on her counter and I think my jaw must have dropped. She just laughed and said she had a couple of tricks up her sleeve!

  17. Gail says:

    Seared Tuna is one of my favorite foods. Adding potato flakes just made them even better. Thanks for a great idea! 🌟

    1. You’re welcome! It’s a fun little trick!

  18. That is party worthy!!!!! What a beautiful display Dorothy. ❤️

    1. Thank you! We served it at a rather small dinner party, and it was a hit!

  19. I’m not into this type of Tuna, but I think I would love the dressing and the veggies.

    1. It’s all good Judy! You can use any fish and cook it to whatever temperature you like! I actually love Pat’s original sole crusted with the flakes.

  20. nancyc says:

    This sounds great! I like the idea of the tuna having a potato crust! 🙂

    1. It’s a nice addition, just a touch of flavor and some texture.

  21. sunisanthosh says:

    Beautifully captured.

    1. Thank you so much!

    1. The texture is lovely, and it’s quite nutritious too.

  22. Priti says:

    Wow delicious recipe! Looking tasty thanks for sharing 😊👍

    1. Thanks! It is really delicious!

      1. Priti says:

        It looks so .I have to try. Stay blessed ❣️💕

      2. 💕Have a wonderful weekend and Happy Spring!

      3. Priti says:

        Thank you God bless you 👌🙂❤

      4. Priti says:


  23. My husband would love this dish, especially with that sauce but it is almost impossible to find sushi-grade tuna filets in our area.

    1. Have you looked in the freezer at your local fish market? All sushi grade tuna has been frozen to eliminate the possibility of parasites, so when you see vacuum sealed tuna steaks, they are probably a good bet!

  24. Carolyn Page says:

    Oh wow, Dorothy, this one is another special recipe.
    I love your caution regarding the tuna over fishing and your solution. I’ll take this to heart as I shop.

    1. I try to eat it infrequently, find a good source, and just serve a little. It does go a long ways!

  25. Americaoncoffee says:

    What a perfect Spring- Summertime brunch or anytime munch. Do you have a published cookbook?

    1. i have a family cookbook that I distributed to family and friends, full of old photos and recipes from those remarkable people who came before. But I’m working on a cookbook featuring our local produce and farm products that I hope to get published. Long process! Stay tuned.

      1. Americaoncoffee says:

        That’s awesome!

  26. TaMara says:

    This sounds amazing…Tuna, Sesame, Lime – all my favorites! And I love forbidden rice – years ago a friend who owns several restaurants gifted me some and told me how to prepare it – I’d never even heard of it before. Yummy.

    1. You have a good friend! Now you see the forbidden rice everywhere, right? I love the texture and know it is full of minerals as well.

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