When my local Mill Valley Market posted a Facebook photo of ahi tuna steaks that had just arrived, I bought a half pound, and picked a recipe online from a trusted source,The Kitchn, to give traditional Hawaiian poke a try. It was one of those times when the universe reminded me that stepping out of my comfort zone can sometimes bring unexpected rewards!
I really liked the recipe posted below, and there are many variations on poke, but I guarantee that any of them will taste better than what you may have had in a supermarket deli case - even in Hawaii. Look for ingredients that appeal to you, and buy very fresh fish - you might ask your fishmonger if she or he would eat it raw. Just make sure the fish looks pink, is sashimi grade, feels firm to the touch, and smells fresh (not fishy).
[This is Part 1 of two posts on ahi tuna poke. Part 2 will cover information and recipes from the Sunset Test Kitchen's class on poke held in Sonoma yesterday by Chef Metcalfe of the Shiso Modern Asian Kitchen Restaurant.]
The Kitchn's "Best Ahi Poke" Recipe (adapted for Paleo):
1/2 -3/4 pound ahi (yellowfin tuna) steaks
Aged coconut sap and sea salt;
Low salt, gluten free and vegan;
Substitute for soy sauce
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 firm avocado, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 - 3 Tablespoons macadamia nuts, chopped and toasted
2 Teaspoons black sesame seeds
3 Tablespoons coconut aminos
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
1/4 Teaspoon coarse salt, Himalayan, Hawaiian, or Kosher (to taste)
1/4 Teaspoon red pepper flakes (personal preference)
Garnish: Arugula, frisee, etc.
As you like it toppings: Edamame, Cucumber, Daikon, Seaweed, Pickled Radish, Masago (roe), shiso (julienned), Furikaka (homemade w/ coconut aminos), wasabi, minced ginger
1. If possible, select tuna pieces with a minimum of white streaks (connective tissue) as they can be too chewy (or remove them with a sharp knife). Cut the steaks into 3/4" - 1" pieces, and place the chunks into a large bowl.
2. Lightly toast the macadamia pieces in a frying pan over low heat (about 2-3 minutes), or until they turn light brown.
3. Add the onion, scallion, garlic, avocado, nuts, coconut aminos, sesame oil, salt and pepper flakes in the bowl. Stir well to combine.
4. The recipe recommends putting in the mixture in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Another recipe said to let it sit about 2 minutes and then serve. I put it in the fridge, but found it tasted much better after it sat out for about half an hour.
5. Add garnish when ready to eat.
Makes 4 side servings.
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My Paleo Marin Rating 1-5 Persimmons
I try out these recipes so you don't have to (and modify them for Paleo where possible). The rating will reflect my opinion of the final result in terms of taste, ease of preparation, nutrition, and sometimes, cost.