I hated, hated wasabi for years. When it accidently touched my sushi it would be a disappointment. When chefs felt the need to use it as a Frites dip I saw it as a waste. The taste of it ruined my life (dramatic? me?) until a sneaky sushi chef in San Diego hid fresh wasabi in my halibut sushi. It was life-changing! Such pure flavor, such a sinus-clearing heat! I finally saw the appeal of that wasabi business – people were just trying to make due when they couldn’t get the best (fresh wasabi, I have later discovered, is the best). And it turns out, there are actually some decent wasabi pastes out there, not that I care anymore because I love it all.
This little salad/appetizer embodies my declaration of love for wasabi. It is the fabulous Eric Ripert’s recipe, from the beautiful Avec Eric book, and I am officially adding it to my mental list of absolute favorite recipes.
Laura went to Europe and all I got was this lousy sashimi?! It’s true – we’re headed out for a couple weeks. I will respond to any comments when I return. In the meantime…enjoy!
Seared Tuna Sashimi Salad with Wasabi Vinaigrette
serves 4 as an appetizer – we made the full recipe and split it into two for a nice, small dinner. Slightly adapted from Eric Ripert.
1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice (about 1 1/2 limes)
2 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce)
1 tablespoon wasabi paste*
1/4 cup olive oil
– sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup radish shoots
1 thinly sliced green onion
3/4 pound tuna, divided into (2) 1-inch steaks
3 tablespoons canola oil
* Get the wasabi paste in the tube if you can. The powder just does not have the same punch.
1. Combine the lime juice, tamari, and wasabi in a bowl until the wasabi is incorporated. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil to make an emulsion. Season with salt and pepper to taste and refrigerate while you prepare the rest of the dish.
2. Gently toss the radish shoots with the green onion and set in fridge.
3. Season the tuna steaks well on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat canola oil in a pan at medium-high heat until it just begins to smoke. Cook tuna to desired doneness – these were on for about 1 minute per side. Move tuna to cutting board and cut into thin (1/4 inch) slices.
4. Arrange the tuna slices on 2-4 plates as shown. Toss the radish shoots and green onion mix with 2 tablespoons of the dressing and arrange in the center of the tuna pinwheel. Drizzle a little extra vinaigrette on the tuna and serve right away – we ate it with chopsticks.
The vinaigrette will keep for two days in the fridge, but you will probably try to think of lots of things that suddenly need a wasabi dressing and it won’t last that long!