My husband, who does not normally eat sushi or sashimi, became a fan of this raw tuna dish – now a Pacific Rim cuisine classic – when we visited Hawaii a few years ago and had dinner with friends at Sam Choy's restaurant. Now, he orders it whenever he sees it on a menu, and others in our family have learned to like it too. It is really delicious (not too mention healthy!), and so easy to make you can have it prepared in just a few minutes. Serve it as an appetizer in individual martini glasses or other elegant dish for a very special first course, perfect for a summer dinner party or just to please that someone special.
1 pound sushi-grade tuna (ask at the fish counter – this usually comes frozen)
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
4-5 scallions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
1 tablespoon finely chopped macadamia nuts, optional
Cut the tuna into approximately 1/4-3/8 inch cubes. This is easiest to do when the tuna is still partially frozen. Spread out the cubes on a plate to finish defrosting while assembling the rest of the ingredients.
To toast raw sesame seeds, place them in a small heavy skillet over medium-high heat and stir continuously until the seeds begin to smell fragrant. They burn carefully, so take them out of the pan as soon as you think they're ready.
In a glass bowl, mix the defrosted, but still cold, tuna with the soy sauce, scallions, sesame oil, and sesame seeds. If hotness is desired, add the cayenne pepper. Toss gently until the ingredients are well mixed.
Place in individual glasses or bowls, garnish if desired with the chopped macadamia nuts, and serve while still cold. Except for the garnish, you can prepare this a short while in advance and keep in the refrigerator until serving.
Jamie Stolper is the Food Editor of ShalomBoston.com.