Monday, March 07, 2005


Spicy Tuna

Well, I’ve found my dream home. A three bedroom Mediterranean style house on a cliff side in Los Feliz with a spacious kitchen that isn’t over done, (read: the fridge was by Frigidaire, not Sub-Zero) but actually functional and full of warmth and love. Sigh. Since it is not for sale, I am happy to report that the couple living there are not only amazingly kind people, but love to cook. What could be nicer. I met them last night for a sushi lesson and we all had a fantastic time. We made miso soup, sunomono salad, futomaki rolls (with salmon, avocado, carrots, enoki mushrooms and shiso leaves), sushi (with halibut) and spicy tuna handrolls. I bought (as I always do) all of the ingredients at Safe and Save on Sawtelle in West LA. This is the basic recipe for the spicy tuna. It is just as good wrapped in nori as it is served over a bed of mixed greens. Enjoy!

2 oz. sparkling fresh tuna, chopped
1 tablespoon best quality mayonnaise
½ teaspoon chile oil
½ teaspoon chile pepper powder

Combine all just prior to use. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Enough for six hand rolls or two futomaki
According to Jeffery Steingarten, author of It Must Have Been Something I Ate...Ahi is the Hawaiian word for Yellowfin tuna, which the Japanese consider inferior to (most other types of tuna)…
“Boasting of Ahi on a menu is like featuring USDA Commercial grade beef at a steak house.”

Shiso leaves are from the plant Japanese Perilla and belong to the same family as mint or basil. Rich in calcium and iron, shiso was originally employed as a medicine and preservative.

Tuna quickly turns an unappetizing brown (or chocolate, as it is called in the industry), whether it is fresh or conventionally frozen and thawed. Carbon monoxide, a gas that is also a component of wood smoke, is currently being used to prevent the fish from discoloring. The gas is used by many overseas producers, and although tasteless, is more concentrated; it can be as much as 100 percent carbon monoxide, said Bill Kowalski, an owner of Hawaii International Seafood. Most sushi bars and supermarkets have switched to the treated product since it was introduced in the late 1990's. 25 million pounds of treated tuna, about 30 percent of total tuna imports, were brought into the United States last year. Retailers in the United States buy it already treated. Suppliers and retailers who use the treated fish say the process allows them to sell high-quality, flash-frozen fish that still looks good enough to eat. The Food and Drug Administration says the process is harmless. The agency permits its use to preserve the color of fresh tuna, not to enhance brown tuna, and requires stores to label treated fish. But they often do not. Any tuna that is hot pink has probably been treated with carbon monoxide. Tuna that is bright red may be extremely fresh, and therefore very expensive, or may have been treated with the gas. Tuna that is selling for less than $12 a pound is probably treated.” - Excerpt from, from an article by Julia Moskin that was Published: October 6, 2004

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