|Ahi Tuna Ceviche|
When I was in Las Vegas at The Palazzo last week, we ate at Dos Caminos (actually we ate there 3 times) and tuna ceviche was on the menu. It was citrusy, sesame-ey, light and refreshing. I really wasn't expecting much when I ordered it (unassuming fool that I was), but once I tasted the tender, melt-in-your-mouth, tart, yet sesame-oil-infused tuna, my mind went crazy with delight. I just couldn't believe how good it tasted.
|Ahi Tuna Ceviche|
I did my best to recreate the flavors I remembered - the flavors that have been haunting me since that fateful day - and I'm happy to say that I'm thoroughly pleased with this rendition. In fact, this is now one of my absolute favorites.
Maybe it's the toasted sesame oil (for which I have a strange weakness) or maybe it's the fresh citrus from the lime. Or perhaps it's the scant bit of Serrano pepper adding just the slightest tickle of heat. Whatever the reason, I LOVE this tuna ceviche. Yes love it.
If you've never tried ceviche before, I highly recommend starting with this. It's flavorful, melts in your mouth and it couldn't be easier to make. I recommend buying the highest quality tuna you can find. I bought an Ahi tuna steak from the fish counter at Gelson's and it was delicious. If you can find "sashimi grade" tuna - all the better.
The tuna should be dark red in color, feel dense and have no scent to it whatsoever. Just ask your fishmonger if they would recommend eating it raw, and if so, you're in good shape. The acidity from the lime juice marinade will begin to "cook" the tuna and also give it the citrusy flavor in a matter of seconds, so essentially you will be eating it rare, as good tuna is best enjoyed.
|rice vinegar, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, lime juice,|
mint, Serrano pepper, and chips (any kind)
Serves 2-3 as an appetizer
1/2 pound Ahi tuna steak (sashimi grade if possible), diced
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 Tablespoon rice vinegar (I used O Yuzu rice vinegar, see Cook's note)
1/2 of a Serrano pepper, very thinly sliced
Juice of 1 lime
5 small leaves of fresh mint
sprinkle of black sesame seeds (optional)
In medium bowl mix soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar, Serrano pepper, lime juice, mint, and sesame seeds. Then add diced tuna and toss to coat.
The tuna is ready to eat as soon as it's tossed and coated but you can marinate it for a few minutes if desired. The tuna will start to turn white almost immediately, a sign that it is cooking from the acidity of the lime juice. It is not necessary to cook the tuna. In fact, it is best served immediately while it is melt-in-your-mouth tender and moist.
Serve immediately by mounding atop crackers, chips or micro-greens. Dos Caminos served it atop roasted sweet potato slices.
|my collection of O Olive Oil vinegars and one oil|
Cook's note: I believe I've extolled the wonders of O Olive Oil vinegars and oils in the past, but I wanted to take a moment and again mention how great these vinegars are. This time I used Yuzu rice vinegar and as usual, it didn't disappoint. If you can find them, they're well worth the extra dollars. A few drops go a long way and they elevate vinegar to a whole other level. Whole Foods definitely carries a variety of them.
If I were only going to buy one - it would be the citrus champagne vinegar - it's quite versatile and lightly lemony. Next I'd get either the Yuzu or the Ginger. They're both rice vinegars - the Yuzu is citrusy and the ginger is, well, gingery. Oddly enough, I'd choose their olive oil last. It's even more expensive, and I didn't get the hint of Meyer lemon it promised, but maybe that's just me.