There is something so decadent and intimately sensual about eating raw fish whether it’s with sushi, sashimi, tartare or poke. It’s a salad consisting of chopped raw fish, called Tako in Japanese and Poke in Hawaiian. In Europe they serve it as Tartare or Carpaccio and nowadays the trendy appellation in most snazzy, hip joints is crudo, meaning “raw”.
Many abstain from eating anything raw, because they believe any meat has to be cooked. Once your crudo-uneducated palate savors its true splendor, not only will it become the gourmet event of your lifetime, but you’ll castigate yourself from not having indulged long before now. Your gastronomic universe will change forever, there’s nothing more sublime or sexier than eating raw fish when its very fresh and prepared correctly.
So dearly beloved, please fling out those “I don’t eat raw fish” inhibitions, because you haven’t lived until you’ve tried it.
The freshest fish is what makes “melt in your mouth” kinda sushi, otherwise don’t bother and yes, it can get costly because of the preparation, incomparable fresh flavors and the singular eye-catching experience, but certainly worth every penny. Poke falls under the same category.
Fish tartares and crudos are part of my culinary repertoire, as they are very simple to prepare. The one consensus is that whatever fish you are using, it has to be beyond fresh. Period.
2 fresh tuna steaks – the reddest and freshest possible tuna, about 1’ thick
1 ripe avocado, peeled and seed removed and chopped into small cubes
3 TBSP of EVOO
2 TBSP sesame oil
Zest and juice of 1 lime
2 TBSP soy sauce
2 TBSP fresh grated ginger
1 ½ TSP wasabi powder
1 TSP of rice wine vinegar
1 cup of chopped scallions – white parts
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
Slices of radish
1 TBSP sesame oil
1 ½ TBSP honey
1 TBSP mirin
2 TBSP light soy sauce
¼ cup of ponzu sauce or sake
2 TBSP lime juice
½ TSP white soy bean paste
In a small metal bowl add the grated ginger, EVOO, wasabi powder, soy, lime zest and juice, sesame seeds, very finely chopped cilantro and mix well. Allow it to sit at room temp for about 1 hour. Chop the avocado and sprinkle with some lime juice to prevent discoloration.
Chop the tuna into 1/8” cubes and place in a working bowl. Chop the scallion and add to the tuna. Add the sauce, mix well and season with salt and pepper. Chill for about an hour in the fridge to allow the flavors to develop. That will also allow for the tuna to pack well in the mold.
Place a 1½ inch tall and 2¼ inch round mold or a biscuit cutter in the center of a serving bowl and fill the bottom with the avocado pressing gently with the back of a spatula or a spoon. Top with the tuna and pack down gently as well. Place the slices of radish on top in a decorative pattern and gently lift the mold.
In a small bowl whisk together the ingredients for the accompanying sauce and pour around the tartare. Serve with thin toasted crostini.