Re-launched, but still slightly under construction. :-)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sesame-soy Ahi with fresh green beans and cucumbers

Friday, February 11, 2011 By No comments

Imagine my surprise when I found a bag of frozen Ahi at Sam's Club. "No way this is going to be worth $12," I thought. And then I bought it anyway.

The bag yielded six tuna steaks almost two inches thick and about the size of the palm of my hand. They were individually sealed and they thawed to a bright pink-red. They were lovely and surprisingly delicious!

I thought about how to use what I already had in my kitchen, and got to work.

Ahi with marinated cucumbers

4 Ahi steaks
3/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
3/4 sesame oil (don't substitute, please; you won't get the same flavor)
1/2 cup lime juice
2 tsp garlic paste or minced garlic

A note: always treat the Ahi gently.

Lay the Ahi in a single layer in plastic storage container with an airtight lid or in a self-sealing food storage bag big enough to hold all of them. Whisk together the wet ingredients in a separate bowl, then pour 2/3 of it over the tuna. Make sure each piece is well coated. Seal container. Let sit for 15 minutes at room temperature, then pop it in the fridge until it's time to cook.

Slice a cucumber to whatever thickness you desire and put them in an airtight bowl or self-sealing food storage bag. Pour the remaining marinade over the cucumber, stir or shake to make sure all slices are well covered. Seal the container and pop it into the fridge.

You can let the tuna and cucumber marinate all day, but don't give it less than 30 minutes.

To cook the tuna, heat 2 tbsp of sesame oil in a non-stick pan on medium to medium-high, depending on what kind of stove you have. Gas stoves tend to cook faster, and have higher temperatures. We have a smooth-top stove, and it cooks a little lower. So I put mine on medium-high.

Lay the tuna steaks in the pan, and sear until the pale color of the cooked fish is 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick, about 3 minutes. Turn. You should see a nice sear on the outside of the fish. If not, up the heat a notch. Cook the same way on this side.

Ahi is meant to be served medium-rare. If that is not to your choosing, then cook it a little slower on lower heat, so the outside doesn't burn before the inside is cooked to your liking.

Give the top of the tuna a light dusting of lemon pepper when you're ready to serve. Arrange slices of marinated cucumber on the side. Voila!

Optional: Okay, if you don't have sesame oil, use some unflavored oil, like canola. Then sprinkle liberally with sesame seeds before serving. Or, you can skip the oil altogether and use rice-wine vinegar. In that case, though, go light on the lime juice. The dish will be much tangier, and less balanced, but still very good.

Stir-fried green beans (haricot vert if you're nasty)
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp garlic paste or minced garlic
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 lb. fresh green beans, ends trimmed
1/4 of a sweet onion, very thinly sliced
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

Heat the sesame oil on medium in a large skillet or wok. Saute garlic and onion until onion turns translucent. Add in green beans and saute until they begin to sear. Add in soy sauce and chicken stock, and cook until tender-crisp. Optional: sprinkle beans with sesame seeds before serving.

I re-purposed some leftover fried rice from Chinese delivery by tossing it in the green bean pan when I was done, and adding a 1/4 cup of chicken stock. I stir-fried it until the stock had disappeared and the rice was heated through.

To keep the calorie and carb count down, skip the fried rice. Or substitute boiled brown rice, or try some of the black rice that's available out there. I love black rice. It's nutty, has a great chewy texture, and it's full of fiber.


Post a Comment