Sesame-grilled Tombo with Shiromiso-Dashi, Coriander and Red Dulce

Fresh Tombo (pole-and-line-caught US Pacific albacore tuna) is briefly marinated in mirin, ponzu and sesame seed oil before being indirectly-grilled over a roaring wood fire.

Served rare/medium rare with a flavorful broth of white miso and dashi with bits of red dulce, fresh coriander and flecks of rooster sauce, these 1-1/2 inch thick steaks were grilled for just under 2 minutes per side, then rested 5 minutes before plating..


Sesame-grilled Tombo with Shiromiso-Dashi, Coriander and Red Dulce


Fishery researchers generally agree that the Northwest Pacific albacore population is a healthy stock at the current time. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program considers the North Pacific albacore fishery to be “eco-friendly”, in that there is very little by-catch and no impact on fishery habitat.  Unlike some other tuna species, albacore do not usually swim with dolphins – and for this reason there is not a dolphin-associated albacore fishery anywhere in the world.  Because the catch consists mostly of younger, smaller specimens, Northwest Pacific tombo tend to be much lower in mercury than those caught elsewhere in the world.

Smoked Duck Breast with Braised Bok Choy, Ginger Pear Salad

Smoked magret duck breast is rubbed with Chinese 5-spice, then seared in its own fat until the skin is crisp.  The duck is then sliced and served with braised baby bok choy and a salad of Asian pear, pickled ginger, sunflower sprouts and toasted sesame dressed with an ume plum vinaigrette..

Smoked Duck Breast with Braised Bok Choy, Ginger Pear Salad

For the Duck

Rinse andpat  dry half of a smoked magret duck breast. Use a thin, sharp knife to score a crosshatch pattern into the skin, taking care not to cut into the muscle.  Rub the breast with Chinese 5-spice then place skin side down into a heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Cook until the skin is crisp and much of the fat has rendered, then turn and quickly sear the other side.  Transfer to a cutting board.

For the Bok Choy

Season quartered baby bok choy with salt and pepper then place flat side down into the pan with the rendered duck fat. Cook until slightly browned, then add 1/4 cup water, turn and cover until tender, about 5 minutes.

For the Salad

1 Asian pear, jullienned
1 1/2 tablespoons sushi-style pickled ginger
1/4 cup sunflower sprouts
1 teaspoon white sesame seeds, toasted
1/2 teaspoon black sesame seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, cracked and toasted
1 teaspoon crispy garlic, crushed
1 palmful fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon ginger juice
2 tablespoons umeboshi plum vinegar
1 teaspoon traditionally-fermented soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
sea salt and freshly-ground Szechuan pepper to taste

Combine ginger juice, vinegar, soy and lemon juice together in a bowl.  Slowly whisk in oils.  Add remaining ingredients and toss to combine.  Refrigerate until needed.

To serve, slice warm duck breast about 3/8 inch thick and arrange over braised bok choy.  Garnish with ginger pear salad and drizzle with a little vinaigrette.

Thai Green Curry Halibut

Wild Alaskan Halibut simmered in coconut milk with nutmeg, cinnamon, black pepper, cardamom and cloves and fiery homemade green curry paste, cilantro, basil and toasted coconut..


Separate 1 large BPA-free can of heavy coconut into milk and cream and set aside.

Cut fresh or fresh-frozen wild Alaskan halibut into 1 inch cubes and refrigerate. You’ll need about 6 ounces per person.

In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, pulse soy sauce, fish sauce, dried shrimp, fresh garlic, green chilies, galangal, lime leaves, lemon grass, coriander and cumin seeds with just enough coconut milk to keep the blade from seizing up.  The result should be a thick but soft paste.  Set aside.

Prepare Thai red rice according to package directions.  Keep hot.

Meanwhile, poach the halibut in the remaining coconut milk with nutmeg, cinnamon, black pepper, cardamom and cloves.  We want it a little underdone for now.

Fry the curry paste in hot oil for 2 minutes, stirring continuously.  Reduce heat to low and add the poaching liquid.  Whisk in reserved coconut cream then add the halibut and simmer until the fish is snow white and flakes easily when pressed with a fork.

Make a ring of rice in the center of the plate, then spoon halibut and curry into the middle.  Garnish with toasted coconut flakes, fresh basil and chili oil.

This post is part of the Clean Your Plate Challenge at The Nourished Kitchen

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Steak Udon

Good stir-fry demands a proper, seasoned wok.  Properly cared for, this $15 wood-handled carbon steel model will last for years.

Cilantro, white miso, ginger, chili pepper, chives, scallions, red bell pepper, garlic, tofu, shiitake mushrooms, fresh udon noodles, sirloin steak, plum vinegar, sesame oil, brown rice vinegar and soy sauce.

While preparing the vegetables, marinate the steak in a non-reactive container with soy sauce, sesame oil and vinegars for about 20 minutes.

Heat the oil (I’m using a high-heat tea oil made for this purpose) until it shimmers.  Test its readiness by dropping a small piece of beef onto the sloped side- it should sizzle and brown immediately.

Add the meat to the hot oil, drawing it up the sides and around the perimeter of the wok.  Let sizzle undisturbed until the pan recovers all its heat.  Add the vegetables to the center of the pan and stir to combine.

Continue to cook by drawing the meat and vegetables up the side of the pan.  Add a few tablespoons of the marinade to the pan and quickly heat the tofu, udon noodles, miso and cilantro.  Stir to combine.

Serve with additional soy sauce, hot chili sauce and sake, if desired.

Rating  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Korean-style BBQ

This is my take on a Korean-style BBQ, inspired by the more traditional bulgogi and galbi.

“English-cut” short ribs, garlic, ginger, scallions, brown rice vinegar, oil, soy sauce with citrus and non-refined cane sugar.

Remove the cap and excess fat and cut the meat from the bone. Cut the remaining meat on a bias about 3/8 of an inch thick, and place into a non-reactive container.

Add minced garlic, ginger and scallions and about 1 tablespoon each of oil, vinegar and sugar to a quantity of soy sauce sufficient to cover the meat. For extra hot BBQ, add 1 tablespoon of chili garlic sauce to the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

At meal time, cook sweet rice according to package directions, and steam choy sum until tender, about 3 minutes.  Transfer steamed leaves to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process and preserve the color and nutrients.

Meanwhile, sear the beef in a hot skillet until medium rare, about 5-7 minutes.

Lay the choy sum out on a flat surface.

Top with a spoonful of rice.

Then a piece of meat.

Add some odoriferous kimchi.

And some hot sauce.

Fold the leaves over and eat like Korean tacos, or serve open-face.

Rating  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦