Uncanned and Unbelievably Delicious

white-tunaFew culinary traditions labor under as great a misconception as sushi does. Yes, most sushi is served with raw ingredients. Sushi, however, does not mean raw fish. (Although I think sushi made with raw fish is utterly lovely.) Sushi simply refers to a mode of preparation, namely to serve raw or cooked seafood or veggies with vinegared short-grain rice. Most sushi is also served wrapped in seaweed. Again, that’s not a requirement. Sushi can be raw salmon served on an oblong bed of vinegared rice, or sushi can be julienned veggies rolled up in a neat nori roll. Or sushi can be cooked crab and some avocado slices stuffed into a nori cone. In short, sushi can be almost anything you like.

By the same token, the raw fish commonly used for sushi can also be sliced thinly and very briefly sauteed. Don’t think that the top-grade fish sold for use in sushi can only be used in sushi! Japanese grocery stores that sell sashimi-grade fish — that’s fish suitable for eating raw — are treasure troves for seafood lovers. The amount of fish sold is usually less than a quarter-pound per package, so shopping at a sushi store is the perfect way to try new seafood without spending a fortune.

Or, as I’ve done here, try fish that you thought you knew but didn’t — i.e., fresh albacore tuna, not the canned variety. Fresh albacore will blow your taste buds! I didn’t even know what it was the first time I tried it. All I thought was, “Wow, whatever fish this is should be called The Butter of the Seas.” It’s that velvety-smooth and rich. If you’ve never had sushi made with white tuna and you’re a fan of raw-fish sushi, make sure your next roll has shiro maguro in it. If you’re not a fan of raw fish, buy a filet of white tuna to take home and cook. If you’re like me, white tuna will be your new favorite fresh fish!

White Tuna Atop Simple Zucchini Salad

To make the salad, simply toss shredded zucchini with equal parts extra-virgin olive oil and apple cider vinegar, using about 1 tablespoon each for every cup of zucchini. (Or 1 1/2 teaspoons each for 1/2 cup zucchini.) Set aside.

Thinly slice the white tuna into 1/4″-thick medallions, cutting across the grain of the fish as opposed to length-wise. Heat a drizzle of unrefined sesame oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add white tuna medallions and cook for 3 minutes or until the bottoms have turned opaque but aren’t showing any signs of browning. Flip over each medallion and continue to cook for another 2 minutes or until both sides are opaque but not brown. Immediately remove tuna from the skillet to prevent it from overcooking.

Serve atop the zucchini salad and then trickle on just a suggestion of tamari (be sure to use wheat-free tamari if you’re making a gluten-free dish). The tuna is best when eaten fresh off the stove. And remember, fish does not store well — especially when it’s raw! — so be sure to prepare your tuna within 24 hours of having bought it. I purchase my sashimi-grade fish at Noble Fish in Clawson. Not only do they serve great sushi on the premises, they have a well-stocked seafood display with very high turnover. (You definitely want to do your seafood shopping at a place that constantly refreshes its stock.)


Courtesy of The Cultured Cook.

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