Ahi Tuna in a Cucumber Rollup
The clean Japanese flavors of “maguro” sushi are brought together in this dazzling appetizer. A sesame-soy marinade lifts the tuna flavors, and the wasabi (horseradish) and pickled ginger give these delectable rollups a real punch. Gloria Ferrer Brut sparkling wine provides a vivacious accompaniment to the spicy, exotic nature of the dish while balancing the salty flavor of the marinade.
Yield: 24 pieces
1/2 lb Ahi tuna – absolutely fresh, dark red, high quality “sushi grade” is essential here
2 T Green onion - chives will work as a substitute
1 T Fesh ginger - if you can’t find the fresh root, skip it. Don’t use powder!
2 T soy sauce - good quality “shoyu” works best
2 t Rice wine vinegar – substitute any light wine vinegar if necessary
1 T Toasted sesame oil – toasted sesame oil has more flavor than untoasted
Pinch Black pepper—several turns from the peppermill works best
1 or 2 English cucumbers – long style, the thinner the better
1 t Wasabi – Japanese green horseradish, available in powder or paste
2 oz Pickled ginger
2 T Sesame seeds
- Prepare marinade by finely chopping the green onion and mincing the fresh ginger root. Place them in a mixing bowl and add all of the other marinade ingredients.
- Cut the tuna steak into small cubes (1/4” or smaller) and coat with the marinade in bowl. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator until ready for assembly – 1 to 6 hours is best.
- Dilute wasabi with enough water to achieve a liquid the consistency of ketchup.
- Lightly toast the sesame seeds in a 350F oven for 4 minutes.
To Create Rollups
To create a rollup you will need a mandoline to achieve the super-thin slice necessary. If you don’t have a mandoline, you can assemble the appetizer by making a simple open canapé or, if you are a good whittler, you can carve cucumber cups or boats.
- Slice cucumber lengthwise into very thin long strips using a mandoline.
- Place a cucumber slice on your work surface. Paint lightly with the diluted wasabi.
- Lay several slices of pickled ginger along the length of the cucumber.
- Place a 1/2 tablespoon of the marinated tuna at the very end of the long cucumber slice.
- Roll up the slice making sure that the filling does not fall out.
6.If the individual pieces are too large, carefully cut the rollups in half with a sharp knife.
To Create Canapes
- Slice cucumber crosswise into disks less than 1/4” thick.
- Paint the disks lightly with the diluted wasabi. Top with a slice of pickled ginger.
- Top with a 1/2 tablespoon of the marinated tuna.
To Create Cups or Boats
- Cut cucumber(s) into 1.5” to 2” lengths. Use a spoon or melon baller to create a cavity.
- Paint the cavities lightly with the diluted wasabi. Place a slice of pickled ginger inside.
- Fill with the marinated tuna.
Garnish with a light sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds and arrange on platter for service.