something wicked this way comes…

I love, love ahi tuna. The rawer, the better. Whether it be sushi, sashimi, seared, or tartare, I can’t get enough of this stuff.

Also known as yellowfin tuna (the second and anal fins are yellow, thus the name), it is more commonly recognized by it’s Hawaiian name “ahi”. Whatever it is you want to call it, this stuff is heavenly.

When buying ahi, look for commercial or sushi grade. The flesh should be light red and have a fresh, ocean smell. If it smells fishy, then you know you it isn’t fresh. Always purchase your fish from a reputable source like your local fishmonger.

One of the most popular ways of eating ahi is in sushi or sashimi. Ahi is sometimes mislabeled as maguro, which is altogether a different species of tuna called bluefin. Though they look similar, I prefer the ahi because its flesh is fattier, making it taste creamier.

Pan-searing is another common way of serving the ahi. Typically, you crust the tuna with sesame seeds (white and/or black) and sear it on a very hot pan until all sides turn ivory. You want the outside a little “crusty” while the inside remains rare and cool. Sliced at about 1/4 of an inch thick, they are great in salads or on their own.

Most definitely, ahi tartare is my second favorite way of serving ahi. Just like its cousin, steak tartare, it is diced and served raw. I like making a ginger-wasabi-vinaigrette and mix it with the tuna. Sometimes, I will fry up some wonton triangles and top with the tartare to give it a textural counterpoint.

My Wicked Ahi is a spicy variation of my basic tartare recipe. Kinda like a deviled egg, it’s how I got to calling it  “wicked.” I  fold in a cream-based dressing made with Sriracha hot chili sauce and top the whole thing off with a nori-tamago furikake—a Japanese dry condiment of seaweed, sesame seeds, and dried eggs. The dried eggs  and sesame seeds give it a nice crunch, while the nori (seaweed) adds a hint of the briny deep.

I skip the fried wontons and use soup spoons for presentation.


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