We recently came into a large amount of fresh sushi-grade big eye tuna. I know, life is tough. Our go-to for fresh tuna is usually our almost Niçoise salad, but with the farmer’s markets shutting down for the season limiting the farm-fresh produce selection, we opted for a spicy ceviche. Tuna is not usually used for ceviche because the acid quickly turns the bright red flesh gray, as the fish is “cooked,” by the acid. That’s why you have to act quickly. Or don’t – after all, the color change doesn’t immediately affect the taste (although with enough time marinating the fish would get overcooked by the acid), and you can still tell your friends your rendition looked like our photo.
This recipe combines salt, spice, sugar, and acid for an irresistible combination. What you actually use for your spice and acid doesn’t really matter. We used rice vinegar and Thai chilis because we happened to have them. But you can just as well use limes, white vinegar, or even lemons in a pinch for the acid; and jalapenos, serranos, or even ground cayenne for the spice. Chop some cucumbers for added crunch, then throw in some herbs and sesames seeds, and you’ll have quite a feast.
- 1 pound fresh sushi grade tuna
- 1 medium-sized cucumber
- 2 Thai chilis, minced
- 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger
- ½ small white onion
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or juice of 1-2 limes)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- 1 small bunch mint (or cilantro or Thai basil)
- Slice the tuna against the grain, rotate, then slice it the other way, until you have evenly-chopped cube-like pieces. Add to a mixing bowl.
- Cut the cucumber the same way so that the pieces are roughly the same size as the tuna. Add to the same mixing bowl.
- Grate the onion and ginger into another mixing bowl. Mince the chilis and add them. Then add the soy sauce, olive oil, sesame oil, and rice vinegar. Add the sugar and whisk to combine. Toast the sesame seeds by putting them in a dry pan for a few minutes until they give off a toasty aroma. Then add them to the marinade. Roughly chop the mint and set aside until ready to serve.
- When ready to serve, add the tuna and cucumber to the marinade. Toss several times. Add the mint and toss again. Serve immediately.