Staying with the cool, refreshing summer theme, we bring you Ahi Hawaiian Pesto Poke. No, it’s not bait. 😛
Although the weather in DFW is unbelievably pleasant, overcast, light rain and 74 F, we made this when it was 103 F. Hot, hot, hot!!!!! We like the break from the heat and welcome the rain inasmuch as Texas has been in a drought for the past 4 – 5 years. South Texas around Austin and West Texas have been much worse so we are at least thankful for that. Nevertheless, I previously told you how Baby Lady is a poke fiend. She really is. There are 2 things she likes more than anything else (but me 🙂 ). The first is Chicos Tacos in El Paso. You have to experience them to believe them and enjoy them. They are somewhat of a cult following. As Gabriel Iglesias (“Fluffy”) explains:
Chicos Tacos is an El Paso tradition. “It is the craziest food I have ever tried. Craziest ever. The reason is they give you these little taquitos and there is like a sauce and you pour it and like the taquitos float and it absorbs and uh I never thought I’d see the day I could drink a taco!”
He’s pretty close to spot on and those people from El Paso truly relate to this story. Baby Lady loves Chicos Tacos so much it’s the first stop we make after we get our baggage and car because there is one close to the airport. And she’s not alone!!!! You would be surprised how many rental cars you see in the parking lot with luggage in them.
The only thing Baby Lady likes as much as Chicos Tacos is poke. I can’t even begin to tell you how much she loves poke. The last time we were in Honolulu, we stayed in Ko’Olina which was a wonderful, somewhat secluded resort until they built the 850 room Disney resort. 😮 Nonetheless, we landed at the airport, rented our car and drove to Tomashiro Fish Market where they have unbelievably fresh fish and make a darn good poke. Like Chicos Tacos, but for other reasons, Tomashiro’s has the stuff upon which legends are built. It’s not a restaurant though with places to sit. It’s a wonderful fish market that makes poke. If you buy the poke, they give it to you in plastic pints with plastic forks or chopsticks (if you ask), you pay for it and leave. Baby Lady loves their poke. She loves it so much that we can’t even make it back to the hotel or her sister’s condo (less than 3 miles) without her eating the poke.
Needless to say, there wasn’t any when we got to her sister’s condo. 😦 It’s why I always buy a minimum of 2 pints. 😀
Over time, I have learned how to make poke. It’s not quite the same because the fish is never as fresh and the seaweed is near impossible to find. Nevertheless, we try to make do until we can get back to Hawaii when she can have the real deal. We really are jealous of her sister, Martha. She knows it, too. So, for Christmas one year she sent us Sam Choy’s book, Poke. It’s a wonderful book with loads of poke recipes and this recipe has its origin in this book. We had to make a few modifications because we just don’t have all of the ingredients available to him. Also, I had never thought of making a pesto poke before I read his book. It was unbelievably delicious and if you like poke, give this a try. This is what we did.
- 1.25 lb sashimi grade Big Eye Tuna, cut into 3/4 inch dice
- 1 Tbsp coarse sea salt (We had some nice coarse hawaiian sea salt with chile and Hawaiian seasonings from Martha. Thanks, Martha. 🙂 )
- 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 cup ginger
- 2 Serrano chiles, stemmed and chopped
- 1/2 cup macadamia nuts, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup oil
Put the diced tuna into a large bowl and sprinkle with salt.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Now add the chiles to the food processor
followed by the ginger
the green onions
and macadamia nuts.
With the food processor running, add the oil
When done, remove the tuna from the fridge and add 1/2 of the pesto, or to taste.
Mix to incorporate.
Spoon the poke into a serving vessel. We like Martini glasses if you haven’t noticed. Conch shells will work, too, as will a variety of other vessels, including but not limited to a lettuce wrap. 🙂
Serve & enjoy!!! I promise you Baby Lady enjoyed this dish tremendously. 😉
25 thoughts on “Ahi Hawaiian Pesto Poke”
I’ve never heard of poke! It sounds delicious though, I am a huge fan of anything sashimi or ceviche oriented 🙂 Baby lady must have been in her element, with a whole home-made batch of poke… yum. Thanks for the lovely recipe!
Thanks, Laura. We love sashimi style food, as well, which is probably why we like poke. We have 5 other poke recipes on the blog and they are all very good. If you get a chance, check them out. 🙂 They are all easy to make and are great on hot summer days. Of course, we would eat poke no matter the weather. 😉
Absolutely amazing! Where do you get your tuna?
Hi, GiGi. Thanks for the nice compliment. 🙂 We buy our tuna from HEB’s Central Market in DFW. They have fresh tuna flown in from Hawaii 3 times a week.
I was having a party with 36 guests several years ago so I stopped by to check out their tuna because it was one of the courses. What was in the display counter wasn’t what I wanted or needed. I asked them if they had some frozen in the back that I could see believing they were buying flash frozen tuna. They explained their tuna is never frozen and comes direct from Hawaii. So, I asked if I could see a couple of loins. They went into the cooler and brought out a tub with 5 loins ranging from 8 – 11 lbs. None of them were frozen and all of them showed they were purchased at the Hawaii fish auction the previous day, filleted and cryovaced. I was shocked. Nonetheless, they had exactly what I wanted/needed for the party and I purchased a beautiful 9 lb loin @ $19.99/lb. I’ve been buying their tuna and other seafood products ever since.
I really would love to live in Hawaii. According to my sister-in-law (who lives in O’ahu), tuna at the auction sells for $0.20 per pound, except during Christmas when it sells for considerably more. 😮 I would become a regular fixture at the auction house.
You sound a lot like me when it comes to buying seafood – I must see it and I ask lots of questions 🙂
Wow, I could NOT imagine buying tuna at $.20 per pound! That’s incredible!!!
The problem is you be at the auction very early in the am (around 4), know what you are looking for and buy the whole fish, roughly 135 lbs. Then you have to transport the tuna to wherever, filet it, cut out the loins, etc., etc. Still, even assuming a 65% waste and only 35% yield, it’s less than $1.00 /lb. My guess is you will get roughly a 45 – 50% yield. It’s something you would have to buy with someone or be throwing a large party where tuna is the primary course otherwise what are you going to do with 40 – 70 lbs of high quality tuna?
My sister-in-law tells me very few individuals buy at the auction for this reason. Those that do are hosting a wedding reception or something along those lines.
I too have never heard of Poke! It sounds like a take on sushi, but all mixed up with some delicious ingredients!
Hi, Kathryn. You’re right about poke being somewhat similar to sushi. It’s been a Hawaiian tradition for a very long time, apparently predating Captain Cook’s arrival in 1778. It used to be fish scraps and leftovers. Over the years, however, it became more refined until you reach its current sophistication. Sam Choy is responsible for the global popularity of poke. He serves it in his high end restaurants, has written numerous cookbooks on the subject, gave demonstrations everywhere he went and in 1991 began poke contests on the Hawaiian Islands which culminated into a 3 day event named the Hawaiian Poke Festival in 1992. There are all kinds of poke. One of my favorite poke is a marlin poke. Sadly, it is near impossible to get fresh, sashimi grade marlin in DFW. So, we primarily eat Ahi poke which is darn good. If you’re interested, there are 5 other poke recipes on the blog. Each one is a little different and very tasty. If you can get the fresh fish, give it a try. 🙂
Could you use salmon in poke? I’m hoping to catch another big one this year when they start running!
I don’t see why not. Any fresh fish will do. 🙂 The seasoning, however, may vary with the type of fish selected.
Thanks, Virginia. This was really tasty. 🙂
Effing love it!!!
Thanks. Glad you liked it. 🙂
Really, really good Richard. It is unseasonably warm and humid here and I could do with something like this rather than the pork chop in pitta bread I had this evening.
Keep at it.
Hi, Conor. Thanks for the nice compliment. I’m sure your pork chop was delicious. I have a friend of mine in Ireland right now and she commented Ireland was having a heat wave. Oh well, it, too, will pass. 😉
Hopefully not too soon. We are enjoying it no end.
Love this post, Richard, especially the photo of Baby Lady indulging 🙂 I’d like to try making poke, although I’ll probably substitute the cilantro 😉
PS How much ginger to use?
Thanks, Stefan. Poke is great stuff. 🙂 Baby Lady suggests substituting flat leaf parsley for the cilantro. I might use a combination of flat leaf parsley and basil.
As for the ginger, sorry I forgot to put it in the ingredients. 😮 Thanks for catching it and calling it to my attention. I fixed it now. 🙂
After seeing BL’s indulging I just had to try this. Made my first poke last night and added avocado. We both loved it!
You have to do a post on it. 🙂
LOVE the smug “I’m eating tuna and loving it” face, hehehe.
Haha. Yep. She’s that way with her poke, especially the remarkably fresh tuna poke in Hawaii. 😀