bits and pieces

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bright, Fresh Tuna Carpaccio with wasabi-roasted sesame sprinkle

ahi tuna, dark soy with heat, fresh ginger... heaven....
and yeah, I photographed this after eating most of it. So what,
wanna fight about it?
 Fresh, raw tuna is one of my FAVOURITE foods. It is probably my favourite protein of all proteins. I've already waxed ideological on the responsibilities of enjoying tuna sustainably so for now I'll just say - don't eat blue fin tuna. I get so pissed when I see Jamie Oliver or Top Chef or something incredibly public using such an at risk fishie. I find it callously arrogant and irresponsible.

Rant aside, I have a shop in Regina that sells sustainable seafood, so hurrah! Moral superiority for moi. Well, moral superiority and delicious fishes.

This is not really a recipe, it's more of a suggestion as to how one may enjoy tuna. That said, I feel kind of shady posting it.... it's like when you get a cook book and there's a recipe in it for mashed potatoes. It's like 'Ok 60$ high end cook book, great, thanks. In a book with recipes  on how to make moustardas and terrines I really need you to tell me how to mash potatoes. Way to fill that space!'  it always bugs me. Shove your mashed potato recipe and save a tree or two Chef McDinkus. Luckily, the internet doesn't kill trees. Or at least directly. That I know of. Save me Al Gore!


OK. So this isn't really a recipe, but it is a fun fancy little appetizer if you ever want to do up some tuna in a different way. It's really light and refreshing and it's almost like a palate cleanser. I ate this between my dinner courses to prolong the splendid enjoyment of tuna. Sigh. I wish I had tuna right now. Please send me some. Seriously.

Before we  start - some tips on tuna! When you're buying ahi tuna you want to look for bright looking fish that doesn't look darkened or dry. For applications like this - avoid buying a steak if you can. They're good for searing but a fillet or a loin is better for this kind of sushi like application. Also - avoid pieces that have lots of visible white little sinew lines. They're totally fine to eat and fine in a steak, but for this application try and avoid them as they're stringy and will make your carpaccio less appetizing.

ahi tuna! the freshest you can find. I'm eternally bad with protein measurements so I'm not clear how much tuna I had. Not very much as I seared most of it in a separate application. Let's say I had a piece about as long as my hand, half as wide, and an inch or so thick. What professional measurements.
wasabi powder. The amount here depends on your taste buds. I like nice-spice, so I probably used about a tbsp overall. If you're not a spice fiend, you might want to start with about a tsp and step it up from there. 
1 tbsp sesame seeds, roasted
a small pinch of brown sugar
dark soy sauce/regular soy sauce. I used dark but not everyone is a freak with different kinds of soy.
a good couple inches of fresh ginger, grated 
a tiny pinch of sea salt and some freshly grated black pepper. Soy is salty so you don't want to over do it on the salt and ruin your ruby red fishy.
a lime 

other things you will need:
a couple pieces of saran wrap
something smash-y to gently pound your tuna flat with
 a frying pan
a pretty serving dish - this is such a pretty little dish that it would be a shame to just toss it on a styrofoam plate.
  1. Whew! After typing all that out I almost feel like this is a recipe. Jubilation! First thing's first you'll need to cut + prep your fish. Normally in a sashimi like preparation you cut fish across the grain. I've only made this carpaccio once and I cut across the grain and it worked fine. There may be a better way to cut but I haven't tried it yet! Make sure you have a very sharp knife and cut your fish, across the grain, on a slight angle. Slice until you're out of fish. 
  2. Lay a piece of saran wrap on your counter, then top with slices of fish, ensuring they're spaced apart. You're going to lovingly pound these flat and they'll spread out like tiny tuna cookies. Gross. Top with another piece of saran. Using your tiny pounding mallet/meat tenderizer/rolling pin/empty flat bottomed jar/whatever gently pound your tuna. I know gently pounding sounds ludicrous but bear with me. You do not want to pound THROUGH the tuna. If your pounding tool hits counter/cutting board then you pounded too hard. You want these tuna medallions to be all in one piece. So lovingly pound them from centre outwards to the edge until they're all kind of evenly flattened. 
  3. Put 'em on a plate, give them a tiny sprinkle of lime juice and a TINY sprinkle of salt and pepper (TINY). Cover with saran and stick into your fridge. 
  4. Combine your teensy pinch of brown sugar, about a tsp of your wasabi powder, and your sesame seeds. Toast in a frying pan over medium heat until it's fragrant and the sesame seeds are browning. Set aside and allow to cool. 
  5. Mix your soy, remaining/additional wasabi powder, a teeny tiny squirt of lime, and about a tsp of grated ginger. Put it in a little dish for dippin'.
  6. Take your ahi out of the fridge and sprinkle with your wasabi-sesame mixture. I gave it a semi-conservative coating of sesame as I wanted it to be more of an accent to the tasty fish vs. a POW! Sesame+Wasabi IN YOUR FACE. Just a nice little flavour and textural contrast. Oui oui...How haute cuisine.
  7. Arrange them on your pretty serving dish. I left mine alternately sprinkle side up + down so it was like a fun little pattern. Serve with additional grated ginger and soy-mixture for dipping. Enjoy with a crisp white wine and then eat it all like a little piggy.

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