Seared Tuna salad 炙り鮪のぬたサラダ

japanese cake

Again, this is a continuation of how to enjoy tuna sashimi in different ways.  Mark’s book (p80) has a similar more traditional recipe, “Tuna ‘Nuta’ with Miso Mustard dressing”. I make this dish slightly differently. “Nuta” ぬた is a traditional Japanese dish in which raw fish, sea weed, and “wakegi” わけぎ (which is very similar or identical to scallions -green or spring onions- we get in the U.S.)  are dressed in sweet miso mustard sauce “karashi sumiso” からし酢みそ. I made some modifications to this traditional recipe and made it into a salad. I used the “tataki” technique for tuna and cooked the scallions over direct gas flame. This way, the tuna attains a nice firm texture and the scallions become very sweet. You could just boil the scallions as suggested in Mark’s book. For added texture, I used grilled “abura-age” 油揚げ or deep fried tofu pouch and everything was set on the top of dressed greens (I used baby arugula here but any leafy greens will do). Of course, if you omit the greens, that will also be just fine with sake.

I used 1/3 “saku” 冊 or block of tuna sashimi (previously frozen) for two servings. After thawing, remove any moisture from the surface and salt both sides. To sear the surface, you could use a frying pan with a bit of oil but I used the traditional Japanese method of a direct gas fire (or charcoal fire). I put two metal skewer, fanned out, through the tuna and held it over the flames until all surfaces were white with small light brown patches but the center was still raw. I plunged the tuna into ice water to cool. I then dried with paper towels and cut into bite size pieces.

I selected thick scallions (3-4) rather than thin ones. Holding the green part, I charred the white part of the scallion over the direct flame until the outer skin blackened. I set them aside until they were cool enough to handle (1-2 minutes). I then removed the root end and outer most blackened layer and cut the white and contiguous green parts into 1/2 inch long segments.

I put one abura-age in a toaster oven and toasted it like I would a slice of bread until surface was brown and crispy (I could have used direct flames as well). I cut it into 1/3 inch strips.

To make “nuta” or “sumiso” sauce (I posted this before); this time I used regular white miso (2 tbs), sugar (2 tbs) and mixed in enough rice vinegar to make a saucy consistency. If the sauce is vinegary enough but still too thick, you could add a bit of ‘dashi” or sake. I also added 1/3 tsp of prepared hot Japanese mustard. In Mark’s book, this sauce was made with the addition of mirin without sugar (mirin is sweet) and less vinegar which makes the sauce less vinegary but I like a more assertive vinegary taste. Dress all the above ingredients except for the greens with this sauce.

For the baby arugula, I simply dressed with a splash of rice vinegar and good quality olive oil, salt and black pepper.

Just place the greens on the bottom of the plate and make a mound of “nuta” on the top. My wife usually does not like scallions in big pieces but this time because of the method of cooking them they were very soft and sweet and she liked it. Abura-age added a nice crunch and everything came together with the smooth miso sauce. Arugula has nice peppery taste which also added to the overall flavor.

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