What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food With Soul: Naked Ahi Chop Chop! When you discover fresh raw sashimi, your brain immediately kicks into the “gotta have it” register. At least, that’s the way it was for me. This Japanese delicacy offered a full-flavored high, without the nasty fishiness that can swear you off fish altogether. But here’s the secret: all ahi tuna is not the same. As I learned from my seafood specialist, sashimi-grade is meant to be eaten raw, so it is handled differently, vacuum sealed, and frozen quickly to the correct temperature to keep it safe. Check the labels, of course. Sushi and Sashimi are not the same thing.
NAKED AHI CHOP CHOP
8 ounces sashimi grade ahi tuna
2 tablespoons pickled ginger, sliced
1 teaspoon wasabi paste
2 tablespoons unagi sauce
Watercress, for garnish
Run the ahi steak under cold water and pat dry. Slice ahi tuna steak with only one stroke of the knife, against the grain. Each segment should be about one inch thick. Arrange on a platter. Add the pickled ginger to enhance the flavor of the sushi. Squeeze wasabi paste onto a dish for a punch of heat, if desired. Add unagi sauce as a sweetened soy sauce. Garnish with fresh watercress. Serve slightly chilled.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Bright Ideas: Unagi Sauce! Anyone who likes Japanese cuisine is familiar with the term “unagi”. You may have seen a squeeze bottle, among other sauces, in a condiment caddy placed on each table at a restaurant specializing in sushi. Those who use unagi regularly may choose to call it “Eel Sauce”, but I’ve found that term used for shock-value more than anything else, especially among family members. If you were ordering grilled eel, well sure by all means, call it that. More importantly, let’s talk about taste because unagi sauce is that thick, sweet, salty stuff you could literally slurp with a spoon. I’d recommend adding a mound of steamed rice to your plate so it wouldn’t be so obvious.
5 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup mirin
3 tablespoons sake
1/2 cup soy sauce
Place a saucepan over Medium heat. Add sugar, mirin, and sake. Mix well. Add the soy sauce; stir to blend. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. It allows the sugar to dissolve equally. Reduce heat to Simmer. Stir occasionally for 10 minutes longer. Bubbles will appear around the surface of the liquid. Remove pan from heat and allow to cool. Once it reaches room temperature, it is ready to serve. Store leftovers in a covered jar in the refrigerator.