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Seared Tuna Tostadas

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Serves eight.

Yields 24 tostadas with 3 cups salsa.

  • by Barbara Hom from Fine Cooking
    Issue 44

Wasabi powder and fresh shiso (also called perilla and Japanese basil) are available at Asian food markets. The wasabi needs to be made at least two days ahead so the bitterness fades; it keeps for up to a month. The salsa will hold for a couple of days in the fridge. The tostadas are fried wonton wrappers; egg roll wrappers also work. The tostadas will stay crisp for one week if stored in an airtight container. They make great munchies, so you might want to fry extra.

For the wasabi paste:
  • 1/4 cup wasabi powder
  • 1/4 cup water
For the wonton tostadas:
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 8 wonton wrappers, cut into quarters (about 2-inch squares)
For the salsa:
  • 1 lb. (about 4) plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 4 fresh shiso leaves (or 1 Tbs. fresh cilantro), chopped
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. rice-wine vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the tuna:
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. slivered fresh ginger
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 lb. very fresh tuna steaks (ahi is best), cut into rectangular logs about 1-3/4 inches thick and 5 inches long
  • 1 Tbs. vegetable oil
For the garnish:
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 1/3 cup chopped scallions
To make the wasabi paste

At least two days before serving, mix the wasabi powder with the water to form a soft paste. Cover and refrigerate.

To make the wonton tostadas

In a deep skillet, add oil to a depth of 1/2 inch. Heat the oil to 380°F -- a rice noodle will puff into a curlicue within 3 seconds or a cube of bread will turn golden in 15 seconds. (If the oil isn't hot enough, the tostados absorb too much oil and get soggy and greasy after just a few hours.) Fry a few of the wonton squares at a time until they're crisp and evenly golden on both sides, turning them during cooking if necessary, about 5 to 10 seconds. Lift out with tongs and drain on paper towels.

To make the salsa

In a bowl, stir together the tomatoes, shiso or cilantro, scallions, garlic, and rice-wine vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.

To make the tuna

In a bowl, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, and pepper. Marinate the tuna in this sauce for 15 minutes or up to 2 hours, turning it halfway through. Heat a cast-iron skillet over high heat with 1 Tbs. oil. When the oil is very hot -- it will be smoking -- put the tuna logs in the pan and sear, 20 to 30 seconds on each side; they should be seared outside and rare inside. Slice the logs into 1/4-inch pieces.

To assemble

Put a piece of tuna on a wonton. Spread a touch of wasabi paste on the tuna (not too much; it's very hot). Top with a spoonful of salsa. Garnish with a bit of crème fraîche and scallions.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : per tostado with 2 Tbs. salsa; Calories (kcal): 100; Fat (g): 4.5; Fat Calories (kcal): 40; Saturated Fat (g): 1.5; Protein (g): 6; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 2; Carbohydrates (g): 8; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0.5; Sodium (mg): 180; Cholesterol (mg): 15; Fiber (g): 1;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I would never make this again. The photos was so stunning but working with the ingredients was so tricky and the pieces so small. The tostadas do not puff to uniform shape when fried so you don't have a very stable surface on which to build the appetizer. Despite all the practical problems with it the flavors were not that spectacular or unique. You could do a very similar thing with a lot less effort by stacking the same ingredients on a cracker or even replacing the shrimp with tuna in the Spicy Shrimp and Avocado Toasts from Fine Cooking #61.

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