Recipe of the Week: Ahi tuna poke with a citrus twist

Aug 28, 2017
Mowie Kay
“Citrus: 150 Recipes Celebrating the Sweet and the Sour” by Catherine Phipps

Poke business is booming across the country, and cookbook authors are hoping we’ll try to prepare it at home.

In addition to poke-dedicated books that came out this year, including “Poke: Hawaiian-Inspired Sushi Bowls” and “The Poke Cookbook: The Freshest Way to Eat Fish,” we are seeing the dish pop up in cookbooks from around the world.

This version from “Citrus: 150 Recipes Celebrating the Sweet and the Sour” by Catherine Phipps (Quadrille, $29.99) adds beets and oranges (or mandarins) to the cubed tuna mixed with soy sauce-ginger dressing.

Tuna, Orange and Beet Poke

In a classic poke (pronounced po-kay), any very acidic citrus is almost incidental and added at the last minute as the fish should be raw, not “cooked.” I have taken some of the classic elements and added beet, as I like its sweet, earthy flavors here. You don’t have to use tuna. Any oily fish would work, including mackerel.

— Catherine Phipps

2 oranges or 4 mandarins

14 ounces extremely fresh well-chilled tuna or other oily fish

Sea salt

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro stems (save the leaves for garnish)

Finely grated zest of 1 lime

Finely grated zest of 1 mandarin (optional)

3/4-inch piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and grated

1 red chili, finely chopped

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

A dash of brown rice vinegar

A few drops of sesame oil

2 medium-sized cooked beets, peeled and diced

1 avocado, diced

2 scallions, finely chopped

Juice of 1 lime

Cooked sushi rice or quinoa, or a few lettuce leaves, for serving

Sesame seeds, for garnish

Cilantro leaves, for garnish

Segment the oranges or mandarins over a bowl to catch any juice, and set the segments aside. Squeeze out the peel and membranes into the juice.

Make sure the tuna is extremely well chilled — in fact, it does no harm to freeze it for an hour before you want to use it, and freezing makes it easier to cut. Cut into an even dice, around 1/2 to 3/4 inches, place in a dish and sprinkle with salt. Whisk together all the dressing ingredients (garlic through sesame oil) and pour over the tuna. Leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes, no longer.

When you are ready to serve, put the tuna and its dressing in a serving bowl with the orange or mandarin segments, beet, avocado and scallions. Mix the reserved orange juice with the lime juice and pour over the contents of the bowl. Fold very gently — you don’t want the beets to bleed too much or for the avocado to turn to mush.

Serve with rice (traditional) or quinoa, or simply pile into lettuce leaves, sprinkled with sesame seeds and cilantro leaves. Serves 4.

— From “Citrus: 150 Recipes Celebrating the Sweet and the Sour” by Catherine Phipps (Quadrille, $29.99)