One of the highlights of last summer was our trip to the Food and Wine Classic in Aspen Colorado. It is touted as America’s premier culinary event, and certainly lived up to those expectations. We enjoyed three days of cooking demonstrations, wine tastings and best of all, the grand tasting pavilion. It was there that we, and 5000 other fanatical foodies sipped, savored and sampled our way around the massive white tents. One area we were certain to stop at during each grand tasting was to sample the offerings of Food and Wine magazines best new chefs. Everything we tried was imaginative and delicious as well. Not coincidentally, the July issue of Food and Wine magazine offered recipes from each of these up and coming chefs.
With memories of the wonderful small plates we enjoyed at the classic, it was time to try some of their dishes for ourselves. This summer I tried the rather ambitious, summer squash with lemon curd and citrus vinaigrette from chef Brad Kilgore. Joe was more interested in the Tuna Poke on Nori Crackers. This very simple version is from Ravi Kapur, chef at Liholiho Yacht Club, a San Francisco restaurant with Hawaiian, Indian and Chinese influences.
If you are not familiar with it, poke, pronounced POH-keh is a raw fish salad. Poke, means chop or chunk, which refers to the bite sized pieces the fish is cut into. It is commonplace in Hawaii, found everywhere from the deli departments of grocery stores to fine dining establishments.
The first time we tried it just for ourselves and the poke passed our taste test with flying colors. The nori crackers are a nice “cheffy” touch but speaking on behalf of the cleanup crew, messy and not necessary for the home cook. For this recipe, make the poke with sushi grade ahi tuna from the most reputable vendor you can find. The spicy mayo has only three ingredients, tamari, sriracha and mayo. So it’s very simple, finely chopped tuna, scallion, ginger, jalapeno, tamari and dark sesame oil combined in a bowl and seasoned with salt. Spoon the poke on black sesame crackers, I like the ones from Edward and Sons, easily found in large supermarkets. Dollop or pipe some of the spicy mayo on top. Garnish with some Asian microgreens and a few toasted sesame seeds. We have served it at two parties so far this year, both to rave reviews.
Ingredients for the Spicy Mayo
- ¼ c good quality mayonnaise
- ¼ t tamari
- 1 t sriracha (or to taste)
Ingredients for the Poke
- 12-oz sushi grade tuna cut into ¼-inch dice
- 4 t minced scallions
- 2 t minced peeled fresh ginger
- 2 t seeded and minced jalapeno
- 1 t tamari
- ½ t toasted sesame oil
- Kosher salt
- Black sesame crackers
- Asian microgreens and toasted sesame seeds for garnish
Directions for the Spicy Mayo
- In a small bowl whisk all the ingredients together until smooth.
Directions for the Poke
- In a large bowl, fold all the ingredients except the garnishes together; season with salt.
- Spoon the poke on the black sesame crackers and dollop with some of the spicy mayo. Garnish with sprouts and sesame seeds.