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Summer Salads and Sides: Sesame Soy Ahi Salad
Sometimes, I get a food itch that I just can’t quit. This summer ahi tuna has been one of those. Partially because it takes about 12 seconds to prepare, but mostly because it tastes fresh, amazing and makes me feel like I could be on a tropical island.
And to be honest, in exactly 9 days, I will be! Kauai to be exact. I plan to eat ahi poke by the bucket, hit-up fish markets like its cool, and order “catch of the day” on the daily. So I’m giving myself a mini head start this summer.
In this case, a sweet-tangy-soy-glazed head start… Ending with “Mmmmmms” and lots of glaze dripping down my chin.
But salad that doubles as dinner on a hot summer night is the best kind of summer meal. Especially when it takes under 20 minutes to make, is packed with greens, veggies, ahi tuna, and a tangy ginger, garlic, soy, and brown sugar glaze that makes me want to lick my plate clean. (I didn’t. I promise… But I wanted to.)
Finding quality seafood in Seattle is not hard. At all. But, bottling a tropical island feeling in Seattle…. Not nearly as easy. Especially since the smoke from the fires up in British Columbia have been creating a sun-less haze, I’m prepping for that island vibe like its my J.O.B. over here. At least in the kitchen.
If you need to pretend, too… Or even if you don’t… Make this salad.
- 1/4 c. soy sauce
- 1/2 c. brown sugar
- 2 tbsp. water
- 1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
- 1 glove garlic, smashes
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 lb. ahi tuna steaks, previously frozen (usually 3-4 steaks equal about 1 lb.)*
- 2 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. water
- 1 tbsp. canola oil
- 5-6 c. spinach leaves, gently packed
- 1 persian or 1/2 english cucumber, sliced
- 1 carrot, peeled and julienned
- 1 breakfast radishes, thinly sliced
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1 tsp. dried wakame seaweed
- pinch of chili pepper flakes
- 1 tsp. sesame seeds
- sesame oil, optional for drizzling
To make the glaze, add all ingredients to a sauce pan over medium high heat and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium low to simmer, stirring occasionally until volume has reduced by 1/2. Transfer to heat proof bowl and allow to cool. Can be made up to 24 hours ahead. (Store covered in the refrigerator and return glaze to room temperature prior to using.)
To rehydrate the seaweed, place dried seaweed in a warm bowl of water. Give it a swirl and let sit for 5 minutes until rehydrated. Should look like it belongs on the beach. Drain all excess water from seaweed first with fine mess sieve, then by pressing on seaweed with paper towels. Set aside.
In a small bowl combine 2 tbsp. soy sauce with 1 tbsp. water. Place ahi steaks in the bowl for a few minutes on each side.
Assemble each serving os salad individually, by laying a bed of spinach then adding cucumbers, avocado, carrots, and radishes to the spinach. Also add a little bit of the rehydrated seaweed, if desired.
In a large frying pan, add canola oil and heat to medium high heat. When oil is hot, remove ahi from soy mixture and sear uncovered for 2-3 minutes per side. We do not want the ahi cooked all the way through. The center should still be pink. Remove ahi from the pan and brush both sides with the glaze. Sprinkle top with a pinch of sesame seeds. Then use a very sharp knife to slice ahi, going against the grain. Arrange ahi on the beds of spinach and brush generously with glaze. Drizzle a little sesame oil if desired and sprinkle with additional sesame seeds. Top with a pinch of chili pepper flakes.
*The preparation of this ahi will not cook the fish all the way through, so be sure to buy pre-frozen, sashimi grade, or if you have concerns about eating raw fish, try substituting fully cooked shrimp, chicken breasts, or skipping this recipe.