Grilled Kajiki and Okinawan Sweet Potatoes with Peppercorn-Wasabi Vinaigrette
Purple sweet potatoes make a colorful base for a tower of grilled fish and greens spiked with a spicy wasabi-based vinaigrette sauce. Nalo fern greens are suggested; the curled fern fiddleheads are very tender. This very “New Hawaiian” dish is easily made with mainland ingredients: kajiki is swordfish, regular sweet potatoes can sub for purple Okinawan sweet potatoes, and baby Blue Lake green beans can stand in for fern fiddleheads. Note that the fish is briefly put in the freezer before slicing to make the slicing easier: do not put it in the freezer so early that it freezes hard into a block.
- Mashed Purple Sweet Potatoes
- Okinawan or regular sweet potatoes - 2 pounds
- Hot MIlk - 2 cups
- Unsalted Butter - 2 tablespoons
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Peppercorn-Wasabi Vinaigrette
- Asian sesame oil - 1 cup
- Plain rice vinegar - 1/2 cup
- Fresh lemon juice - 1 tablespoon
- Fresh ginger - 1 teaspoon, minced
- Ginger juice - 1 tablespoon
- Wasabi Powder - 1/4 teaspoon
- Fresh Garlic - 1 teaspoon, minced
- Cilantro - 1 tablespoon, minced
- Green Onions - 2, green part only, finely chopped
- Black peppercorns - 1/8 teaspoon, ground
- Ponzu Sauce
- Mirin or Sweet sherry - 1-1/2 cups
- Soy Sauce - 1/2 cup
- Lemon Juice - 3 lemons
- Red Pepper Flakes - 1/2 teaspoon
- Nori - 1 tablespoon, minced
- Kajiki (swordfish) - four -ounce pieces
- Nori - 2 tablespoons, minced
- Paprika - 1 teaspoon
- Furikake Seasoning - 2 tablespoons
- Nalo fern fiddleheads - 1 cup, or baby Blue Lake green beans, or baby salad greens
- Peppercorn-Wasabi Vinaigrette - 1/2 cup
- Kaiware or other sprouts - 1/4 cup
- Pickled Ginger - 4 tablespoons
- Chives - 8, green part only
- Red Bell Pepper - 1, seeded, deribbed and julienned
- Black Sesame Seeds - 1 tablespoon , toasted
- White Sesame Seeds - 1 tablespoon , toasted
To make the mashed sweet potatoes: Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into 1-inch dice. Cook the sweet potatoes in salted boiling water until tender, about 6 minutes. Drain. Combine the milk and butter and stir until the butter melts. Mash the potatoes with a masher or beater. Beat in the milk mixture. Add salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm.
To make the vinaigrette: In a blender or food processor, puree all ingredients for 30 seconds, or until creamy.
To make the ponzu sauce: In a small saucepan, heat the mirin or sherry over medium-high heat for 4 minutes. Add the soy sauce, lemon juice, pepper flakes, and the nori. Cook for 1 minute. Keep warm.
To prepare the fish: Light a fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill. Put the fish in the freezer. Five minutes before grilling, slice the fish into 1/8-inch slices (the light freezing will make this easier). Coat the fish on all sides with 5 tablespoons ponzu sauce. Sprinkle with the nori. Cook the fillets over a medium-hot fire for 30 seconds per side, or until lightly seared on the outside.
To serve: Lightly dust the rims of the plates with paprika and furikake. Place some mashed sweet potatoes in the center of each plate. Place a few greens loosely on top of the potatoes. Place a piece of grilled fish on top of the greens. Baste the fish with some of the remaining ponzu sauce. Add a layer of sprouts, ginger, 2 chives, and 2 strips of bell pepper to each. Drizzle the wasabi vinaigrette over and around the salad tower. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.