“Pretty food.” That’s what I call it when you’re reading a food magazine or a cookbook and you see the recipes with the gorgeous photos taken by “food stylists.” It looks so good you simply have to make it. When you do, even with professional training and years of practice, it never looks anywhere near as good as the magazine or cookbook photo. In some instances it doesn’t taste as good as it looks. This recipe does not fail. The food looks stunning and the flavor is unbelievably delectable, unless, of course, you don’t like raw tuna. If that’s the case, then this recipe aint for you.
This is another one of Alan Wong’s recipes found in The Blue Tomato. It really is a nice cookbook full of pretty food. While I never get the food to look quite as good as the photos, I generally can get them pretty close. The details can be somewhat complex but the plating is fairly simple.
The photo above depicts the appetizer course we had for dinner recently when a friend of ours (Baby Lady’s favorite Jim) came to town. It’s always a pleasure to see him and we love to cook for him when he’s in town. On the left is the Tuna Tartare with Coconut Yuzu Kosho and Coconut Leche de Tigre (this recipe). In the middle is a Minute Poke. and on the right is an Ahi Poke Stack. I will post the recipes for all of these dishes separately with appropriate hyperlinks but will start with the one bite (you will wish you had more) Tuna Tartare with Coconut Yuzu Kosho and Coconut Leche de Tigre.
When you read this recipe, you’re going to wonder if this is too much trouble for a one bite appetizer. Although this is one of those recipes that has multiple elements that must be made separately and then assembled, I assure you it’s not. It is, however, a fair amount of effort and make sure you shop before you even start the recipe. Also, you have to pay attention to each element. The recipe makes 8 beautiful one bite tastings. Before we start, however, a couple of things need to be clarified.
You will notice the recipe calls for Yuzu Juice and Yuzu Kosho. Before you ask yourself what in the world is that,
Yuzu looks similar to a cumquat but larger. It has a bright, tart flavor with notes of lime, grapefruit and mandarin, a Meyer lemon-like sweetness, acidity. If you can’t find Yuzu and the recipe (like this one) calls for Yuzu juice, you can substitute equal parts of fresh lime and orange juice or grapefruit juice.
Yuzu Kosho I found much more difficult to buy than the Yuzu and I wasn’t going to make it. None of the Asian markets in my area of DFW (that’s a lot) carried it. I finally found it on Amazon.com. Yuzu Kosho is a type of Japanese seasoning paste made from Yuzu zest, chile and salt which is then allowed to ferment. It is spicy, salty, citrusy, sour and piquant. A little of this stuff goes a long way! I also know of no adequate substitute for it.
Rich Coconut milk is the thick cream on top of the can of Coconut Milk if not shaken before opening. See notes on Coconut Butter Poached-lobster Tail with Galangal and Lime.
- 12 oz Sashimi grade Ahi (Blue Tuna)
- 3/4 cup of extra-rich coconut milk
- 1-1/2 tsp Yuzu juice
- 1-1/2 tsp Yuzu Kosho
- 1/2 cup fish stock (dashi will work – see Note in Stuffed Roasted Red Chile a la Richard)
- 1/4 cup Sliced Red Onion
- 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
- 2 tsp Osetra Caviar
- 1/2 – 3/4 tsp Sea Salt
Prepare the Ahi. Finely chop the Ahi. Season with salt to taste and set aside in a refrigerator or in a bowl in an ice bath until you are ready to plate.
Make the Coconut Yuzu Kosho. Take 1/2 cup of rich coconut milk, mix with yuzu and yuzu kosho. Whisk until all ingredients are combined. Season with salt to taste. Set aside in refrigerator until ready to plate.
Make the Tigre de Leche. In a blender add the fish stock, onions, lime juice and jalapeño and puree. Add the rich coconut milk and blend until smooth. Season with salt to taste.
Plating. Using a small (1 Tbsp) scoop, scoop out some ahi and form into a ball. Place 1 tsp Coconut Leche de Tigre in a Japanese soup spoon. Next, place the Ahi ball in the spoon. Take a 1/2 tsp of the Osetra Caviar and place on top of the Ahi ball. Place 1/2 tsp of the Cocnut Yuzu Kosho on top of the Caviar. Add red onion slices to form a tiny cross and the micro cilantro finishes the presentation on top.
When completed the appetizer looks like this