Hawaiian Poke

Tuna & Avocado Poke

So has anyone else noticed that it got pretty hot out? Like really quickly too? Whatever happened to Spring? It seems that here in Toronto we get, usually, a pretty wicked Winter, a week of Spring, and then watch out, ’cause here comes Summer! And with that, comes the heat and the dreaded humidity. Some days it feels more like you’re swimming outside rather than walking. So, having said all of that, how about some recipes that you don’t have to “cook”? No heat required? That’s right, we’re doing a raw week!

Today’s recipe is for Poke, a traditional Hawaiian dish that combines the freshest of fish, usually either tuna or octopus, with some asian flavours such as soy, sesame and onion. The trick to this dish is not to make it too much in advance. You want to combine the flavours just before eating, only about 15-30 minutes before everyone comes to the table. This way you don’t loose the fresh, delicate taste of the fish. My suggestion? Try serving this as a starter one Shabbos instead of gefilte fish! It will be a hit!

Ingredients:

½ pound sushi-grade salmon
½ pound sushi-grade ahi tuna
1 large avocado, cubed
4 green onions/scallion, thinly sliced*
½ jalapeno chili, thinly sliced (optional)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 ½ teaspoons lime juice
½ tsp ground ginger
salt and pepper to taste
cooked white rice, to serve

* Click here to learn how to clean green onions/scallions.

Directions:

Check over your fish for any small bones or pieces of skin left on. Using a very sharp knife, slice the fish into ½” cubes. Set your fish aside for now. To toast your sesame seeds, heat a dry skillet over medium heat. Add the sesame seeds, and cook until toasted and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Make sure to stir often to prevent burning.

In a medium bowl, mix together the green onions/scallions, jalapeno, toasted sesame seeds, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, lime juice and ginger. Save a little onion and sesame seeds to top your finished poke. Add the fish and avocado to the bowl with the marinade, and toss to coat.

Fill a large bowl with ice, and then place the bowl with the poke in it into the larger ice filled bowl to keep the poke nice and fresh until you are ready to serve it. Taste the poke, and adjust the seasoning as needed, with salt and pepper to your own taste.

Serve the poke on top of some cooked white rice with thinly sliced green onions and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. Enjoy!

Grilled Three-Fish Kebobs with Parsley and Garlic Butter

Lemon Fish KabobsSo even though it’s not yet officially summer (not until the 21st people!), it’s still pretty hot out there, so why not go outside and grill up this fish dish? These kebobs cook up fast on a grill, but can be made on a grill pan or in the oven if you are barbecue-less. The flavoured butter in this recipe is served up along side the dish after it has finished grilling, but can also be used to baste the fish while it grills. This butter is also AMAZING on steamed asparagus, broccoli or cauliflower. Truth be told, it’s good on anything! This dish will serve around six people, and is great served up with rice, couscous or pasta.

Ingredients:

Kebobs:
1 ¼ pounds centre-cut, skinless salmon steak, cut into ½ inch cubes (about 30 pieces)
1 ¼ pounds centre-cut, skinless halibut steak, cut into ½ inch cubes (about 30 pieces)
1 ¼ pounds skinless tuna steak, cut into ½ inch cubes (about 30 pieces)
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large lemon, zested and juiced
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ cups chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley*
4 ½ tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh thyme leaves*
1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
2 lemons, thinly sliced (about 30 slices)

Butter:
1 ½ stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley*
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Special equipment: 15-30 (8 or 10-inch) skewers**

* Click here to learn about cleaning herbs.
**If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes prior to grilling to prevent them from burning. If you want extra stability while grilling your kebobs, then use two per kebob. This will stop the fish from spinning around the skewer as you grill it.

Directions:

Kebobs: Put the salmon, halibut and tuna in a resealable plastic bag. In a medium bowl whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, thyme, salt, and pepper. Pour the oil mixture over the fish and seal the bag. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Thread each skewer with 2 pieces of salmon, 2 pieces of halibut and 2 pieces of tuna, alternating the fish on the skewers with slices of lemon.

Butter: In a small bowl, mix together the butter, garlic and parsley. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer the butter to the centre of a 6 inch square piece of plastic wrap. Fold the plastic over the butter and form it into a log, about 4 inches long and 1 ½ inches in diameter. Refrigerate until firm, about for 1 hour. Slice the butter into ¼ to ½ inch thick slices and transfer them to a plate.

Put a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Season the fish with salt and pepper, to taste, and grill the skewers until opaque, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Arrange the skewers on a platter and serve the butter alongside.

Spicy Tuna Pashtida

Tuna PashtidaFor those of you not in the know, a Pashtida (pash-ti-DA), is the Hebrew word a savoury pie, quiche or casserole. This fish recipe originally came from a family friend and neighbour, Esther Prisman, but we’ve made a few changes to adapt to the tastes of our family. The biggest change is that ours is more tomato-y with a can of diced tomatoes added, rather than two tomatoes, peeled and diced. Note, the tastes of my family seem to include lowering the intensity of the labour needed, as opening a can is a heck of a lot easier than peeling and dicing! You can also use pre-sliced olives, rather than cutting them up yourself. This can either be made as a large casserole, or as individual spring rolls for a fun appetizer!

Ingredients:

2 small onions, chopped
1 (796ml) can diced tomatoes
½ – 1 teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
½ – ¾ cup green olives, sliced (about 15 olives)
2 cans tuna, drained
salt and pepper, to taste
1 package puff pastry dough (for casserole)
sesame seeds (for garnish)
~ or ~
1 package egg roll wrappers (for spring rolls)
oil for frying

Directions:

In a sauté pan, cook onions, tomatoes, chili flakes, olives, tuna, salt and pepper until all the liquids have evaporated. If making a casserole, take half of the pastry dough and place on the bottom of a baking dish. Spoon on the filling mixture, and then top with remaining half of dough. Make a light egg wash (one egg and some water, beaten) and brush the top of the dough. Score the top of the casserole and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

If preparing as individual spring rolls, spoon about a tablespoon or so of the filling on to an egg roll wrapper. Roll the wrapper up, tucking in the sides. Seal with water or egg wash along the edges. To cook the rolls, there are two options: You can either fry them in a sauté pan, with a few tablespoons of oil, until brown and crispy; or you can place them in a 375 degree oven on a cookie sheet for about 10 minutes, until brown and crispy.

Old Fashioned Macaroni Salad

Here is a throwback to the old types of pasta salad that you used to see at big picnics. I’ve upped the flavour a bit by adding both tuna and eggs, as well as pickles, their brine and a dash of paprika. I hope you enjoy! This recipe will make 6-8 servings.

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups macaroni
1 can tuna, drained
3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
4 green onions, sliced*
½ green bell pepper, chopped
½ red bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 pickles, diced
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 ½ tablespoons pickle brine
less than 1 cup mayonnaise (add enough to bring together, but not to overwhelm)
1 tablespoon prepared mustard (yellow, Dijon or honey)
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste

* Click here to learn how to clean green onions.

Directions:

Cook noodles in a large pot of salted boiling water according to the directions on the package, until al dente. Drain the noodles, and set them aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the pasta, tuna, eggs, green onions, celery, pickles, green and red bell pepper.

In a small bowl, mix together the garlic powder, paprika, pickle brine, mustard, salt, pepper, and about half the mayonnaise. Taste for flavouring.

Add the sauce to the pasta mixture, and mix well to combine. Add more mayonnaise if needed to help bring it together, or if you’d like it creamier. The salad should be a little “wet” at first, as the noodles will soak up the moisture in the dressing, and you want it to be a little wetter at first, so that it is not too dry later. Refrigerate until ready to serve.