The tuna fishery off the coast is generating some of the best action seen in a number of years, and should continue to produce fish all through this month for anglers off Ilwaco, Westport, Neah Bay and La Push.
In this week’s Seafood Recipe of the Week, Anthony’s Restaurant Chef Pat Donahue offers a refreshing salad recipe using albacore tuna. Anthony’s will contribute some of their cooking advice and recipes for the Reel Time Fishing NW blog in our Catch of the Week each Wednesday.
Other contributing experts are Chef and restaurant owner Tom Douglas; Tiffany Haugen, Outdoor Cooking expert/author; tackle shop owners; local seafood-market owners; and fishing guides and charter services.
Here is advice from Anthony’s Chef Donahue on how to prepare a delightful albacore tuna recipe:
Albacore is a species of tuna. It is the only species of tuna that may be marketed as “white meat tuna” in the United States.
It is found in the open waters of all tropical and temperate oceans and the Mediterranean Sea. Albacore is sought after by sport fishers and different methods of fishing include pole and line, long-line fishing, trolling and some purse seining.
When purchasing albacore, you’ll want to buy it when it’s fresh- no more than a few days old at the time of sale. The very best will be well iced and refrigerated and have a very mild aroma compared to that of other tuna.
If you do purchase it frozen, you’ll want to make sure that the outer appearance is dent-free. Once thawed, the fish should have a fresh, salty smell that is not overwhelmingly fishy. Firm to a little soft are ideal textures.
Albacore tuna is low in sodium and is known to be a good source of vitamins A and B12. The best preparations are raw (as sashimi or sushi), ceviche, pan seared, or broiled/baked. Albacore has a tendency to dry out, so make sure that the tuna does not overcook.
Chef Pat loves to coat the outside of the tuna with sesame seeds and quickly pan-sear it to create a nice crust and integrate the flavors of the seeds to the tuna. Then he slices the albacore about ¼” – ½” inch thick and place on top of green salad with fresh tomatoes, mango, avocado, pineapple and fried wonton skins.
Sesame Seared Tombo Ahi Salad
2 pounds fresh Tombo Tuna skinless/blood line removed (preferably use the heart or eye of the loin for this dish)
¼ cup each black and white sesame seeds
2-3 tablespoons salad oil
8 ounces field greens or spring mix
8 ounces thinly sliced nappa cabbage mixed with red cabbage and shredded carrots for color
1 cup crispy fried wonton skins
½ to 1 pint halved cherry tomatoes or 1 to 2 cups diced beefsteak tomatoes
1 each Hass avocado, ripe, sliced
1 each large mango, ripe, cut into cubes
1 – 1 ½ cups sesame mango dressing (recipe below)
1 quarter wedge fresh pineapple, cut into segments to garnish (optional)
4 sprigs parsley to garnish (optional)
Cut tuna loin into approximately 1 ½” square or rectangle logs (a 2 pound loin should get you 3 logs- about 20-24 ounces total, leaving about ½” – ¾” of the skin side of the meat for grilling).
To sear: Coat logs in a 50/50 mixture of black and white sesame seeds. Lightly coat heavy bottomed skillet with salad oil over medium high heat. Quickly sear each loin on all sides for about 15 seconds each side (cooking about 1/8” – ¼” in on all sides) leaving the inside just warm. This can be done several hours before and chilled in the refrigerator, or just prior to serving.
Sesame Mango Dressing
(Yield 1 ½ cup)
½ cup Best Food mayonnaise
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 ½ tablespoons light soy sauce
½ cup white granulated sugar
Pinch white pepper
½ cup diced mango
1 to 2 teaspoons orange juice concentrate
1 to 2 teaspoons white vinegar
Mix all ingredients well. Can be made up to 4 days ahead- cover and refrigerate.
Toss salad greens with a small amount of dressing to lightly coat.
Mound in individual serving bowls and drizzle with desired amount of salad dressing (this can be done at the end if you like). Slice sesame seared tuna loins into ¼” – ½” thick slices and fan out over the top of the greens.
Scatter or mound mango, tomato, avocado and crispy wontons over the top and around the tuna.
Garnish with fresh pineapple cut into triangle segments and parsley (optional). Serve immediately.
(Yields 4 to 6 servings)