Friday, August 28, 2009

Montauk Bluefin Tuna -- Hawaiian Style

Photo (Lexi Van de Walle): Gently seared tuna poke garnished with guacamole, diced tomato and scallion
NOTICE: DUE TO THE BP OIL SPILL, THE BLUEFIN TUNA IS NOW SERIOUSLY THREATENED.

THE GULF OF MEXICO IS THE LARGEST SPAWNING BODY OF WATER IN THE US FOR THE BLUEFIN. PLEASE USE ANOTHER FISH FOR THIS RECIPE AND HELP SAVE THE BLUEFIN.
Five years ago, on our honeymoon trip to Hawaii, my husband and I had a wonderful culinary adventure, including eating lots of locally grown and fished foods in Hawaii's top eateries. At almost every meal, we ate TUNA POKE -- which is diced raw tuna served in a variety of ways but most commonly marinated in Asian ingredients, and served with seaweed, avocado or guacamole, and fried wontons or sesame sticks. (If you know the restaurant scene in Hawaii, we ate tuna poke at Alan Wong's The Hualalai Grill at our hotel in Hawai'i and had the double pleasure of also eating at Alan Wong's Restaurant in Honolulu. On our last night, we had tuna poke at Roy Yamaguchi's culinary delight in Waikiki, Roy's, overlooking the famous surfing beach).

Tonight, I made my own version of Tuna Poke using several recipes from Alan Wong's book New Wave Luau: Recipes from Honolulu's Award-Winner Chef to inspire the flavorful dressing. It was out of this world.


RECIPE
Montauk Blue Fin Tuna Hawaiian Style

Buy only sushi grade tuna. Montauk is well-known for this high quality, melt in your mouth cut. There should be no white lines in the flesh just dark red meat cut at least one inch thick.

12 ozs. sushi grade tuna
1/2 cup slivered scallions, locally grown

Dressing:
1/2 teaspoon premium red curry paste (I use Thai Kitchen Brand)
2 teaspoons dark toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar or fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce - low sodium
1/4 teaspoon wasabi powder

Garnishing ideas:
Scallion
Guacamole or sliced avocado
Cherry tomatoes, or diced tomatoes, locally grown
Sesame sticks (my preference) or fried wontons (traditional)

Preheat a grill pan or gas grill to medium-high heat. Brush the tuna will dark sesame oil and sear for 45 seconds on both sides on the grill. Dice the seared tuna into 1/2 inch by 1/2 inches cubes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine diced tuna and slivered scallions. In small bowl, add the dressing ingredients and stir with a fork until all of the ingredients are incorporated. Slowly pour dressing over the tuna and scallions, stirring gently to generously coat the tuna with the dressing. You do not want to saturate the tuna with the dressing just coat it or it will be too messy to serve.

Divide the tuna into four equal parts and shape the tuna into a mound and place it on a salad plate just to the left of center on a plate (the mound will be about the size of a scoop of ice cream). Add a generous dollop of guacamole or avocado slices just to the right of the tuna mound. Garnish further with whole or cut scallion, fried wontons or sesame sticks, and/or chopped tomato.

Chefs Notes:
Tuna: Searing the tuna is optional -- I prefer the added dimension of grilled tuna flavor

Wontons: buy fresh wonton wrappers at an Asian grocer and cut into julienne strips, deep fry each strip for 45 seconds in 375 degree vegetable oil and place fried wonton on paper towels to allow the oil to drain.

Sesame sticks: A snack food that can be found in the health food store -- my preference.

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