Fish has always been a major part of my diet. Blame it on being from California or my mother’s Creole heritage but, I LOVE fish. I don’t care if you fry it, dice it, make a ceviche, sashimi, or grill it…I am ALWAYS game. I love the taste plus, it’s a super nutritious low-fat high quality protein filled with Omega-3 fatty acids for starters. But, my favorite thing about fish is that there are so very many delicious ways to prepare fish including today’s dish Ahi & Salmon Poke.
Poke is a traditional Hawaiian fresh fish salad, pronounced Pokey (rhymes with Okay). It is usually made with ahi (the Hawaiian word for yellowfin tuna), basically it’s a raw fish salad, usually flavored with soy sauce, sesame oil, kukui nut, and seaweed. Now, before you go “Yuck!” lots of cultures eat raw fish, especially Asian cultures. The Japanese love sushi and sashimi. Of course many people eat lox, which technically isn’t raw, it’s smoked but ya know. The Scandinavians eat something called gravlax, which is salt-cured salmon. Ceviche is Peruvian in origin and is basically a raw fish dish. Hoe is Korean sashimi. And, I’m sure there are many others. Point is; you should give Poke a try.
There are well over 100 kinds of poke throughout Hawaii. Some people use other fish besides Ahi, or add mango, or nuts. What I am presenting today is a creation of my own design, which combines the traditional Hawaiian dish with my favorite elements of Japanese cuisine. This can be eaten in the traditional raw/sashimi salad style or made into a quick stir-fry or grilled for those that do not eat raw fish (cough cough mother cough).
This fresh, delicate, and deliciously light fish salad is great all year around. It is super quick and easy to make. I especially like it in the summer time since it doesn’t call for any cooking. Or it can be thrown on the grill for say Labor Day weekend. I hope you give it a whirl!
AHI & SALMON POKE
1 LB Sushi grade Ahi Tuna (if eating raw)
1 LB Sushi grade Wild Sockeye Salmon
½ C Edamame
½ small Red Onion
4 Green Onion
¼ C Sesame seeds (I like the black ones for color)
3 Tbsp Sesame Oil
½ – 1C Soy Sauce
½ C Pickled Ginger (the pink one not the sushi kind)
1 Tbsp Seaweed flakes (optional)
¼ C Masago (flying fish roe) (optional)–omit if cooking this dish
1 Tbsp Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 Jalapeno (optional)
½ C Mung Bean Sprouts (optional)
1 Avocado (cali style) (optional)
1. Dice up all the ingredients and place in an non-reactive bowl.
2. Add sesame oil and soy sauce
Refrigerate for at least two hours
SOCKEYE SALMON: Vitamin D, Omega 3, Selenium, Protein, Vitamin B3, B12, B6, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Folate, Vitamin A. One 4 oz piece of salmon provides 100% of daily required Vitamin D, 90% of Omega 3s and more the 50% of B12, B3, and B6. I choose wild over farmed fish because even though contamination with mercury, pesticides, and persistent organic pollutants (POPS) has become a widespread problem in salmon habitats and with the quality of salmon itself, there are still salmon runs that pose relatively low risk in terms of contaminants. Leading this low-risk category for wild-caught salmon are Alaskan salmon. Southeast Alaskan chum, sockeye, coho, pink, and chinook salmon, together with Kodiak coho, pink, and chum salmon have all been evaluated for contaminant consumption risk involving many POPs (including dioxins, dioxin-like compounds, or DLCs, and polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs) and have been found to be the lowest risk category of wild-caught salmon for regular consumption.
Sesame Seeds: Copper, Manganese, Amino Acid (Tryptophan), Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Phosphorus, Zinc, Vitamin B1, and Dietary Fiber. In addition to these important nutrients, sesame seeds contain two unique substances: sesamin and sesamolin. Both of these substances belong to a group of special beneficial fibers called lignans, and have been shown to have a cholesterol-lowering effect in humans, and to prevent high blood pressure and increase vitamin E supplies in animals. Sesamin has also been found to protect the liver from oxidative damage. Copper is known for its use in reducing pain and swelling, which is particularly helpful for Rheumatoid Arthritis, as it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Magnesium has been shown to beneficial in preventing airway spasms in asthma, Lowering Blood Pressure, helpful for people with migraines headaches, and menopausal insomnia.
Onions: Chromium, Vitamin C, Dietary Fiber, Manganese, Molybdenum, Vitamin B6, folate, Potassium, Phosphorus, quercitin and Copper. This multifaceted food is found in so many recipes for it’s distinct flavor but is often overlooked for its many healthy properties. Onions are very rich in chromium, a trace mineral that helps cells respond to insulin and lowering blood sugar. Chromium levels are depleted by the consumption refined sugars and white flour products as well as the lack of exercise. One cup of raw onion contains over 20% of the Daily Value for this important trace mineral. B6, Chromium and sulfur in onions also helps to lower high blood pressure and high Cholesterol. Onions like garlic has been shown to support gastrointestinal health, and contain anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties.
Ginger: Potassium, Magnesium, Copper, Manganese, B6. Ginger is mostly known for it’s ability to calm gastrointestinal distress, but it is also possesses antioxidants, immune system booster, and anti-inflammatory effects. Many studies have found that phytonutrients within ginger offers some anticancer benefits especially for ovarian and colorectal cancers.
AHI: Protein, Omega-3, Niacin, B-12, 3, 1 & 6, Vit D, Vit C, Phosphorus, Potassium, Magnesium, and Selenium. Selenium aids in the production of antioxidants — compounds that protect you from free-radical damage on the cellular level.