How do I love tuna? Let me count the ways.
I love tuna raw in sushi, sashimi, carpacio or any of the assorted ways in the Trio of Tuna appetizer, just to name a few. I love tuna seared like the Seared Ancho Crusted Tuna with Fig Lime Glaze, Jalapeños & Cilantro, or the Seared Tuna with Clementine Orange and Chipotle Miso Sauce, to name a few more. I love it grilled with sesame seeds and a dipping sauce (a future tuna recipe). I simply love tuna. Unfortunately, I am not alone and there is a huge demand for tuna, especially bluefin tuna, the monster of them all. Because of the immense popularity of tuna and the worldwide explosion of sushi lovers (over 60% of all tuna is consumed in Japan as sushi and sashimi) there has been a rapid decline in tuna populations. Bluefin and bigeye tuna are overfished with populations of yellowfin, skipjack and albacore tunas all in decline. As such, the price for tuna continues to escalate into the stratosphere and tuna is becoming more and more of a treat. Nevertheless, treat myself I do.
This recipe came from watching Nick Stillino’s show on PBS when he had Sylvain Delpique of David Burke Townhouse, New York appear as a guest chef on his show. I have had potato crusted dishes before but I had never seen the technique employed in this dish. Instead of using just regular potato, potato flakes are used, as well! Fascinated, Baby Lady and I set out to try it. It is a beautiful dish with nice flavor an a lovely presentation. The ponzu sauce is not really a ponzu sauce and we prefer a dipping sauce Baby Lady makes. Also, it is very easy to overcook the tuna so be careful if you decide to try this recipe.
For the Tuna
- 4 rectangular blocks of tuna, 6 oz @
- 6 ounces jumbo lump crabmeat
- 1 seedless cucumber, julienned
- 1 teaspoon hijiki seaweed
For the crust
- 1 large Idaho potato, peeled
- 1 cup potato flakes
- 1 egg, whites only
For the ponzu dressing:
- 1 can tomato juice, 8 oz.
- 3 Tbsp soy sauce
- 3 Tbsp yuzu juice (Lime juice may be substituted for yuzu juice)
For the garnish
Before you start you will need to rehydrate the hijiki seaweed unless you are fortunate to live somewhere you can buy it fresh. To do so, put it in a bowl of cold water and let it sit for a minimum of 30 minutes.
For the Ponzu Dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing. Set aside.
For the Tuna: This is a trick to get 4 rectangles of 6 oz each. If you go to your local fishmonger and ask for 4 rectangles of tuna 6 oz each, they are going to look at you like your crazy. They will also explain to you that 6 oz is way too thin. Of course, they are not listening to you. Save yourself the time and trouble. Tell your fishmonger you want a slab of tuna from the center of the loin that is 8 inches long, no less than 8 inches wide and 8 inches tall. Then go home and do this yourself. You will have scraps but they make a beautiful poke.
Get a very sharp knife. Partially freeze the tuna so that the flesh will not roll on you when you cut it. Cut the tuna into one large rectangle 6 inches tall x 6 inches wide x 6 inches long. Then cut it into 4 equal size rectangular blocks 1-1/2 inches tall x 1-1/2 inches wide x 6 inches long. This will weigh approximately 6 oz.
Now, butterfly each tuna block being careful not to cut the tuna into two pieces. You are going to put it back together in the end, remember? Season the tuna with salt.
Distribute the crab, cucumber and hijiki seaweed among the 4 blocks of tuna.
Using a mandoline, thinly slice the potato lengthwise and dip the slices in the potato flakes. For each serving, depending upon the size of the russet used, place 4 of the potato slices on a plate next to one another, slightly overlapping, between two pieces of plastic wrap. Microwave the potatoes for 45 seconds.
Remove the top layer of plastic wrap. Brush the potatoes with the egg white. This will be the adhesive that keeps the potato adhered to the tuna. Now, place a tuna block on top of the potato slices and roll the potato slices around the tuna.
Place the potato-wrapped tuna block in a skillet with some oil and pan-fry for 45 seconds on each side.
Remove from heat and let drain briefly. Remember, the tuna is still cooking from the residual heat, so you do not want to let it sit too long before slicing it.
Slice the block of tuna into 5 or 6 slices. Place slices of tuna on plate. Smear ponzu dressing beside tuna and place diced pineapple chunks on top of ponzu sauce. Slice scallion greens on a bevel and criss-cross to slices on each piece of tuna. Serve and enjoy!