AKFF Blog is introducing a new Food Column with our Guest Blogger, Natalie Huerta, from Purvey LA.
Seasonal seafood? Yes! With all the produce at the farmer’s market, it’s easy to forget about another local, seasonal ingredient we have access to here in sunny southern California: seafood!
While it may be more of an investment than a bunch of greens, it’s just as important to know where your fish is coming from as your kale, when thinking about how our appetites impact the environment. As an alternative to the colorful tuna bowls cluttering our insta feeds and popping up across the boardwalk, let’s recreate them at home, using nothing but the season’s best and brightest.
Whenever cooking fish at home, you want to use premium quality fish from a source you trust. To me, that means talking to the fisherman who caught it! That way, you can ask them when it was caught, how it was caught (pole and line caught is most sustainable!), and even where they caught it. The team behind Wild Local Seafood is my go-to source for sustainable seafood caught just off the Santa Barbara coast. They can be found at both the Santa Monica and Mar Vista Farmer’s Market and they’ll be sure to tell you everything about any piece of fish in their coolers. While poké is traditionally made using “sushi grade” ahi tuna, come mid-May, California King Salmon season is in full swing, so consider swapping out ahi for seasonal salmon.
Once you’ve brought your fish home, to maintain ahi’s vivid coloring, remove it from it’s packaging, pat it dry, wrap it in plastic, and keep it chilled until you’re ready to slice it up. I realize now that you “invested” in a pound of sushi grade fish, it can be intimidating putting a knife to it! Relax, take a deep breath, and be sure you have your sharpest knife at the ready. Using a sharp fillet knife, turn the tuna so you are slicing against the grain and dice into neat ½ inch pieces.
As is the philosophy with most, the better the ingredient, they less you have to do to it. Use the dressing recipe as a guide, but feel free to adjust the levels of salt or sesame oil to your taste.
1 lb. of the freshest, sushi-grade tuna you can find, cut into ½ inch cubes.
3/4 teaspoon pink Hawaiian sea salt or flake salt such as Maldon
3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 teaspoon of black and/or white sesame seeds
1/2 white spring onion or walla walla onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sesame oil
soy sauce, for serving
Place ahi in a large mixing bowl. Add flake salt, both types of sesame seeds and scallions. Give it a good mix, incorporating all ingredients evenly. Then add white spring onion, breaking up the slices in your hand as you add to the bowl. Add sesame oil and mix to combine. Let mixture set about 10 minutes to let the salt melt into the fish and the flavors set. Taste, and adjust the seasoning, adding more of whatever you’d like.
The Poké Bowl Assembly
Serve poké over salad greens, with rice, or a combination of the two. Keep it simple or top off your bowl with any other seasonal ingredients you might find at the green market. In spring, I like adding chopped cucumber for texture or a few nasturtiums for a pop of color but shredded snap peas, chives, or pea shoots would work nicely, too!