Saturday, 18 July 2015

Sesame-encrusted tuna salad So Cal with Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc

Southern California - or So Cal as it's also known - is not a region I'm personally familiar with, but based on documentaries such as Real Housewives of Orange County it seems like a charmingly genuine place where people have their values in check and feet firmly on the ground (...)

Now, obviously I was being sarcastic. The grotesquely drag queen-like, bewilderingly immature characters in the series are so frighteningly devoid of any personality it's downright perverse there isn't a Martini-swigging committee gearing up to launch a charity event for them alone. Oh, perhaps they've had them surgically removed to make more room for silicone and Botox and collagen? 

Food wise though So Cal sounds aaaahmazing. Fresh fish and seafood? Veggies? With Asian twist and influences from south of the border, too? Avocados, lime and coriander galore? Count me in!

This salad was born out of those very ingredients as I stumbled upon a gorgeous piece of fresh tuna at my fish monger, which soon found itself swimming in an Asian-inspired marinade. The price of fresh tuna might seem extortionate at times, but a owing to its meatiness a little goes a long way, especially in salads and especially when sliced this thinly. Use any veggies you want - it's wasabi mayo that is the crowning glory. That could also be substituted with this miso sesame dressing

Serves 3, as a starter 4-5

So Cal salad with Asian marinated sesame encrusted tuna:

350 g piece fresh tuna


0,75 dl soy sauce
3 tbsp honey
1,5 tbsp finely chopped ginger
1 largish clove garlic
the juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 tsp sesame oil

sesame crust:

1 egg white, lightly beaten
black sesame seeds (about 1/2 dl)

oil for frying

Combine the ingredients for the marinade and pour over the tuna. Leave to marinate while you prep the salad.


1 sheet nori seaweed
7 radishes
2 spring onions, chopped
bunch of coriander, leaves chopped
1 large carrot (or 2 smaller ones)
125 g cherry tomatos
2 small avocados
1 small green pepper (or 1/2 of a larger one)

To serve: wasabi mayo or miso-sesame dressing

Toast the seaweed at 200° until crisp but not burnt. Cut to strips. 

Cut the cherry tomatos in half, slice radishes finely and cut the carrot to thin strips. The easiest way to do this is to first slice them with mandolin or a vegetable peeler and then stack the slices and cut them into match stick like strips. Cut pepper into small cubes and do the same with avocado. Combine the ingredients, fold in seaweed, spring onion and coriander, place on the serving dish and drizzle with dressing.

Remove tuna from marinade and pat dry. Toss it in the egg white and then in sesame seeds. Heat some oil in a hot pan and sear the tuna for about 30 secs on each side. 

Let cool a bit and then (using a sharp knife) slice thinly and place on top of the salad. Serve.

Instead of California the wine pairing comes from New Zealand. I've never been best of friends with their Sauvignon Blacs as too often the currant-ey notes are too dominating. There is some of that in this, too, but in a very ripe form. Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc is a delightfully mouthwatering Sauvignon Bland and as such makes a perfect aperitif.

The wine (organic, too!) is dry and aromatic and would go well with variety of seafood and fish dishes, especially with smoked fish. It does, however, have such fruitiness, that it also worked surprisingly well with the Asian influences of this dish - it truly blossomed with this salad. A great wine for summer! And hey, it's available in a demi bottle, too (0,375 l) which makes it a convenient for picnics or those evenings à deux, when a whole bottle would be too much. 




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