Archive for the 'fish' Category

Tuna Gimbap


Anytime I travel somewhere, I tend to latch onto one particular food and eat it far more than anything else, so that inevitably, when I go home, eating that food immediately transports me back. When I visited Norway, it was mussels and smoked salmon (I made sure to eat one or the other, but preferably both, every single day of the trip). In Uganda, it was chapati rolled up with fried egg (mainly because it was more appetizing than goat stew, which always included either jawbones – teeth still intact – or pieces of stomach), and here in Korea, it’s tuna gimbap.

At the ubiquitous Gimbap Heaven franchise (which is open 24 hours and seems to never be more than 3 blocks away, no matter where in the city you are), these rolls are only a couple dollars and keep me full for hours. Although the ones I usually get include some fried egg and mayo, I left them out when making them at home because I wanted to lighten them up a little.

You can make gimbap with just about anything. I’ve seen it with ground beef and processed cheese, which I really don’t get excited about, and with just tuna and vegetables, which I love. If you have trouble finding yellow pickled radish, it can be left out, and if imitation crab meat is not your thing (which is understandable… I’m not sure why I like it and yes I know it’s probably worse for me than hot dogs), omit it! You don’t need one of those fancy sushi rolling mats either… I just made this directly on my cutting board and had no trouble rolling it up.

4 sheets of nori (about 8″ x 8″)
2 cups freshly cooked short grain white rice
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp rice vinegar
6 shiso leaves, torn in half
1 can of tuna (packed in water), drained
1 carrot, cut into long, thin strips
1 cucumber, seeded and cut into long, thin strips
4 strips yellow pickled radish
4 long strips ham
a few strips of imitation crab meat

Prepare all ingredients and have them nearby.

Mix the rice with the sesame oil and rice vinegar. Add a little extra oil if the rice seems especially sticky.

Put about half a cup of white rice on a sheet of nori and spread it to a thickness of about 1 cm. I like to use a piece of plastic wrap between my hands and the rice so I don’t end up with a sticky mess. Leave an inch or two of the nori uncovered.


Arrange the shiso leaves on top of the rice.


Sprinkle 1/4 of the tuna over the shiso evenly. You can add a little mayo here if you like.


Line up a few pieces of crab (or Krab)


Add the strips of carrot and ham…


…then cucumber…

…then radish if you can find it (check Asian grocery stores)


Carefully roll it all up
then slice with a sharp knife and enjoy

Deli Tuna Salad


A long run early in the morning is the perfect time to think – I just let my mind wander, and most of the time either a song gets stuck in my head or I start thinking about recipes.  On a particularly beatuiful run along the river the other day, I found my thoughts occupied by tuna salad.  But not just any tuna salad; this one is special.

I spent one summer in college working at a deli making sandwiches. It was a family-run place near the beach, and our customers were mostly people escaping the smoldering heat of the central valley for a weekend on the coast.  It wasn’t my dream job by any means, but it definitely had it’s perks. For one, the owner’s father made fresh mozzarella every morning and I will never again be satisfied with the bland, flavorless, rubbery mess that you find in the grocery store.   For another, I discovered a whole new way to make tuna salad. This may not seem terribly earth-shattering, but for someone who only ate tuna mixed with mayo and sweet relish, it was a delicious eye-opener.

So while I was running, I realized I needed to re-create the tuna salad that changed my opinion of canned fish.

It’s been a few years since I made this at the deli, so I don’t remember the exact recipe they used. I know it included capers, red onion, and olive oil, with no mayonaise in sight.   It’s like your average tuna salad’s more sophisticated (and healthy!) cousin.

2 6-oz cans solid white albacore in water, drained
1 tbsp chopped capers
1/4 red onion, finely diced
1 rib celery, finely diced
juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Serve on crackers, in lettuce cups, or on sandwiches.

Ahi Poke in Lettuce Cups

I fell in love with poke in Hawaii. It came with some plate lunches, and I could not get enough!  There are many variations – I love the really spicy stuff with little flecks of nori in it.  However, I made this for a family dinner that included people who have almost no tolerance for spicy food, so I took it in another direction.  The bright flavor of green onions and ginger mingle with the buttery-smooth ahi and the crunch of the iceberg lettuce is a perfect contrast.

1 head iceberg lettuce
3/4 lb sashimi-grade ahi
1 tbsp sesame oil
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 green onions, minced
2-4 tsp minced fresh ginger (depending on how much you like ginger!)
pinch sea salt
Pull apart the leaves of lettuce and find the crisp parts that will work well as lettuce cups.
Cut the ahi into 1/2″-3/4″ cubes.  Toss with sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, green onions, and ginger.
Cover and refrigerate one hour.
Arrange the lettuce on serving trays and scoop a few cubes of fish into each.

Hawaii: Seared Ahi With Pineapple Salsa

We are in Hawaii! That means beautiful sunsets, lounging monk seals, and great ingredients to cook with!
We spent our first day getting settled into our condo on Poipu beach in Kauai, and headed to the grocery store, where we found some beautiful ahi steaks and fresh pineapple.  
about 2 pounds of ahi steaks (count on 1/4 – 1/3 pound per person)

1/2 fresh pineapple
1/2 cucumber, seeded 
1/2 red onion, diced, soaked for 20 minutes in cold water, and drained
juice of one lime
a few pinches of salt
To prepare the salsa:
Cut the pineapple into 1/4″ dice.
Cut the cucumber into 1/4″ dice.
Stir the pineapple, cucumber, and red onion together and stir in the lime juice and salt.  Adjust seasoning to taste. Let sit at room temperature so flavors can combine while you prepare the fish.
To prepare the fish:
Heat grill on high for about 10 minutes.  
Cook the steaks about 3 minutes on each side (it will be very red inside – cook a little longer if you want it more fully cooked)
Serve topped with salsa.

Fish in Green Curry Sauce

My mother instilled an envioronmental conscience in me when I was very young and it really effects the way I buy groceries.  For a few weeks, my grocery store only carried oranges from Australia, which is ridiculous because I know for a fact there are oranges growing all over this state.  I didn’t buy them because of the ridiculous amount of pollution caused by transporting the fruit all the way here from Australia.  

I buy local foods when I can, shop in bulk to minimize packaging waste, and look for sustainable fish and seafood.  Which is where this recipe comes in.  I needed just some basic white fish.  I remembered from this handy guide that Atlantic cod and halibut, as well as red snapper were on the avoid list, but as I browsed through the case, the only white fish I didn’t know about was Orange Roughy.  
I made this dinner, which I thoroughly enjoyed, then had an eye-opening chat with my neighbor, who has a broader knowledge of seafood sustainability than I do.  Not only is this fish dangerously high in mercury, it is from Australia, wildly overfished, and takes 20 years to reach sexual maturity, making it very difficult for the population to rebound.  
I consider this a lesson learned, and will not be shopping without my Seafood Watch Guide again!  But for the record, I highly recommend you make this with Pacific cod, Pacific halibut, or US farmed Tilapia.  And print yourself off a guide at the link above so you can shop sustainably as well!
(adapted from A New Way to Cook by Sally Schneider)
about 1 pound of white-fleshed fish fillets
1 small shallot, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tsp butter
2 tsp – 2 tbsp Thai green curry paste (depending on your tastes – it can be very spicy!)
1 tbsp fish sauce
2/3 cup light coconut milk 
chopped cilantro for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400 F and spray a baking dish with nonstick spray.  
Sprinkle the shallot in the bottom of the pan, then lay the fillets on top.
Spray a piece of foil with nonstick spray and lay it, sprayed side down, on top of the fish.
Bake for about 10 minutes, or until a fork inserted into the fillet meets no resistance.
Meanwhile, bring the wine and butter to a simmer and cook until all the alcohol has cooked out. 
Stir in the green curry paste and coconut milk and simmer for about 3 minutes.  Stir in the fish sauce and cook for one minute more.
When the fish is done, pour the curry sauce over it, then garnish with cilantro.


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