Seared Tuna Carpaccio with Asparagus, Rice Cakes & Spicy Wasabi Hollandaise

Début de l'été 2013
food and drink

BY: Signe Langford

If you can’t find albacore tuna, any fresh tuna will do. When searing the tuna, let your palate be your guide. Some like it jewel-pink and raw inside, some like it cooked a bit more in the middle. Pink is most authentic. Use a 4-inch (10-cm) round cookie cutter sprayed with a little non-stick coating to get the perfect shape for the rice cakes. If you prefer to shape by hand, you will have to add one more egg to the mix to help hold them together. The wasabi hollandaise looks just like a typical hollandaise, but the amazing flavour and wasabi heat take taste buds by surprise!

1½ cups (375 mL) sushi or sticky rice (see TIP)
2 tbsp (30 mL) black sesame seeds
2 tbsp (30 mL) toasted white sesame seeds
6 scallions, white and tender green parts, thinly sliced into coins
3 eggs, well beaten
1 tbsp (15 mL) seasoned rice wine vinegar
Neutral flavoured oil for frying, canola or grapeseed, about 1 tsp (5 mL) per rice cake

Juice of ½ lemon
3 tbsp (45 mL) seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 tsp (10 mL) wasabi paste
1 tsp (5 mL) light or white miso paste
6 egg yolks
4 tbsp (60 mL) salted butter at room temperature
1 bunch asparagus, washed and trimmed (about 5 spears per person)
1 lb (500 g) fresh tuna steaks
1 tsp (5 mL) toasted sesame oil

1 Bring a large pot of water, about 8 cups (2 L), to a boil, add rice and cook until rice is tender but not mushy. Cooking time will depend on type of rice (for example, brown takes much longer) but can be anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes. Use a fork to scoop out a few grains to taste. Drain, fluff and set aside to cool.

2 To make the rice cakes, in a large bowl, combine the black and white sesame seeds, scallions and rice and stir.

3 In a small bowl, beat the eggs and vinegar, then add to the rice mixture and stir to incorporate completely.

4 In a large, nonstick skillet over medium to medium-low heat, add about 1 tsp (5 mL) of thefrying oil. Place cookie cutter or ring mould in the pan and add about ¾ cup (175 mL) of the rice mixture to the ring and press down, packing evenly and well.

5 Fry for about 5 minutes on 1 side, gently remove the ring (you may need to run a knife around the edge) then flip and fry the other side for about 5 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.

6 Make all the rice cakes, (you should have approximately 6 rice cakes, depending on thickness), set on a cookie sheet and keep warm in a very low oven.

7 To make the hollandaise, use either a double boiler or create a bain-marie from a pot of simmering water and a bowl resting inside, its bottom just touching the water. To the bowl, add the lemon juice, vinegar, wasabi and miso and whisk until perfectly smooth and blended. Keep testing the bowl; it mustn’t become too hot or the eggs will scramble. Keep the heat on low and, while whisking non-stop, add the eggyolks.

8 Keep whisking and adjusting the heat until it begins to thicken. Add the butter, 1 tbsp (15 mL) at a time, whisking until each addition has melted completely before adding the next. Whisk until thick and velvety.

9 Bring a large pot of water to the boil, add asparagus and blanch for about 2 minutes. Immediately transfer asparagus to a bowl of ice cold water to stop the cooking process and retain the green colour. When cool, set aside to drain on a clean kitchen towel.

10 Heat a dry, heavy-bottom skillet or grill pan (cast iron is best) over medium to medium-high heat. Rub both sides of the tuna with the sesame oil. When pan is hot, add the tuna and fry until browned on first side, about 3 minutes. Flip and repeat. Remove from heat and let rest for about 10 minutes then slice into ½-inch-thick (1-cm) slices.

11 To serve, place a rice cake on each plate. Top with a few slices of the tuna (allow about 3 slices per person), pour over hollandaise, garnish with a pinch of any leftover black sesame seeds and evenly disperse the asparagus.

Serves 4

TIP The rice aisle offers more choice than ever, especially if you shop at an Asian grocer’s. Long or short grain, sushi or sticky, jasmine, polished, par-boiled, white or brown, even black and purple! You can use any of these, but for this recipe sushi or sticky will yield the best results. Do not use an instant, quick or minute-style rice.