Sunday, July 9, 2017

Aloha! Ahi Tuna Workshop - Part 2: Japanese Pickled Cucumbers

Why do some restaurants charge so much for sushi and sashimi, while others are much more reasonable, especially in the all-you-can-eat establishments? 

The reason was made clear by the two samples of ahi tuna brought in by Chef Edward Metcalf at the Sunset Outdoor Kitchen Workshop (see photo below). The tuna with the bright red color (on the left) sells for about $12 - $15 a pound. The lighter one (on the right) sells for about $26 - $30 per pound. The one on the left has been treated with CO2 to boost the reddish color and make it more "appetizing." It is crunchier than the other tuna steak, and is used widely in the industry - especially in spicy tuna sushi. The natural tuna has a texture more like soft butter, and needs no flavor boosters to be melt-in-your-mouth delicious. For more information on the use of CO2 and tuna, see the New York Times article here.

A recipe for Japanese pickles was included with the workshop handout.  Blanching the cucumbers for 2 minutes followed by an ice bath was the “chef’s secret” to making authentic pickled cucumbers. Chef Metcalf said that the Japanese serve something pickled with almost every meal, and the recipe also works for beets, carrots, beans, and cauliflower.

My Paleo Marin Rating: 3.8 Persimmons


4 cups thinly sliced cucumbers (about 2 medium-large cucumbers)
1 Tablespoon Kosher salt

1 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup pure cane sugar
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds


1. Thinly slice the cucumbers (with a mandolin if possible). Blanch the sliced cucumbers in boiling salted water for 2 minutes. Put immediately in an ice bath (1/2 ice and 1/2 cold water).

2. When the cucumbers are completely cooled off, strain the slices and set aside in a medium bowl.

3. Whisk together the vinegar, water, sugar, and sesame seeds. Pour over the cucumbers and mix well. 

4. Place in a covered container in the fridge for about 1 hour before serving (20 minutes minimum).

Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

#paleo-inspired #sushi #sashimi #japanese #ahi #tuna #asian #cucumbers #pickled #salad

A special thanks to Chef Edward Metcalfe of the Shiso Modern Asian Restaurant for the workshop.

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.

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