Seared Smoked Ahi with Lychee Salsa and Ogo-Wasabi Sauce
Seared ahi has become a favorite in many island restaurants serving regional cuisine; this version adds a smoky flavor. Ogo is a kind of seaweed found on island beaches. You can omit it entirely from the wasabi sauce and still have good results. The same goes for inamona, a traditional paste made from kukui nuts. The lychee salsa has a fresh, clean flavor and tastes wonderful with any light fish.
- Macadamia Nut Pesto
- Fresh Cilantro Leaves - 1-1/2 cups
- Olive Oil - 1/4 cup
- Macadamia nuts - 1/4 cup
- Garlic Cloves - 2
- Parmesan Cheese - 1/4 cup, grated
- Ahi Tuna - 1-1/2 pounds, cut into 2-by-2-inch strips
- Olive Oil - 2 tablespoons
- Ogo-Wasabi Sauce
- Wasabi Paste - 1/2 tablespoon
- Dry Mustard - 1/4 teaspoon, dry mustard, mixed with enough water to make a paste
- Dijon mustard - 1 teaspoon
- Soy Sauce - 3 tablespoons
- Plain Yogurt - 4 tablespoons
- Fresh Dill - 2 teaspoons, snipped
- Inamona Paste (optional) - 1 teaspoon
- Ogo (seaweed; optional) - 2 tablespoons, minced
- Lychee Salsa
- Red Radish - 3 tablespoons, finely chopped
- Daikon - 2 tablespoons, finely chopped
- Fresh Cilantro - 1 tablespoon, minced
- Lychees - 3 tablespoons, finely chopped
- Fresh opal basil - 1 teaspoon, minced
- Jicama - 2 tablespoons, finely chopped
- Maui or other sweet white onion - 2 tablespoons, finely chopped
- Cucumber - 2 tablespoons, finely chopped
- Asian sesame oil - 1/2 teaspoon
- Fresh lime juice - 2 tablespoons
- Plain rice wine vinegar - 2 tablespoons
- Hawaiian or Thai chili - 1, minced, or hot pepper sauce to taste
- Olive Oil - 2 tablespoons
- Salt to taste
- Ogo Sprigs - 4
- Fresh cilantro sprigs - 4
- Red and green seaweeds (optional) - minced
To make the paste: Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and grind to a coarse puree.
Prepare a grill to be used as a smoker. Brush the strips of ahi with the pesto and place in the smoker for about 15 minutes, or until the fish is smoked but still raw. In a medium saute pan or skillet over high heat, heat the oil and quickly sear the outside of the fish on all sides for 30 seconds. The fish will be raw in the center and cooked on the outside edges. Cool the fish, then, with a sharp knife, slice the ahi into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
To make the wasabi sauce: In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Set aside.
To make the lychee salsa: Combine the radish, daikon, cilantro, lychee, basil, jicama, onion, and cucumber in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, mix the remaining salsa ingredients to make a dressing. Combine the dressing with the vegetable mixture. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Cover and refrigerate.
To serve: Spoon one-fourth of the lychee salsa onto each plate. Lay 4 slices of seared ahi on one side of the salsa mound. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the ogo sauce next to each other on each plate. Garnish with a sprig of ogo and cilantro, and the optional seaweed.