This is one of my top five most requested hors d’oeuvres. The key to success is buying the best and freshest Ahi you possible can. Check with your seafood sources, find out when the fish is delivered. There is a Japanese market I will buy fish from when I need smaller amounts. Costco has a very high grade of ahi but the KEY is getting it on the day it is delivered. I’ve seen amazing ahi there as well as old ahi there so be sure to check the dates on the packages. And remember this: FISH SHOULD NEVER SMELL. If it smells bad it is bad. End of story. Fresh fish has no odor.
For events I have the fish shipped in overnight from Hawaii from Honolulu Fish Company. I buy the highest grade No. 1. They have other fabulous fish too from Opakapaka (Hawaiian Pink Snapper) to Hapu’upu’u (Hawaiian Grouper or Sea Bass.)
Back to the Ahi. I used to make this with Yuzu and Macadamia Nuts. But I found the Yuzu was almost “cooking” the fish like lemon and lime juice will when making ceviche. So recently I’ve been using a combination of Hot Chili Oil and Sesame Oil. You can find both of these oils the Asian section of most national grocery store chains. And you can certainly find it in Asian markets. If you don’t like spicy food you can just use all sesame oil. If you still want a bit of citrus flavor in the dish you can use lemon zest or a combination of lemon and orange zest.
AHI TUNA TARTARE WITH ROASTED MACADAMIA NUTS
Makes 12 spoons
Because I like the core part of the ahi the best, I usually have to buy more than I need in order to have the premium part of the fish to dice. So I cut out “the eye” of the Ahi and use that. Then with the outer layers that have more sinew I usually make fish tacos for the staff. They still taste good, but are a bit tougher and are great in tacos. In order to get one cup of premium part of the ahi below I had to buy 3/4 of a pound of fish. One cup is about a half pound so I had almost a fourth of a pound left over.
1 cup Sashimi Grade Raw Ahi, diced in small cubes
1/4 cup chopped Roasted and Salted Macadamia Nuts
2 teaspoons hot chili oil, (less if you don’t like spicy)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Pinch of kosher salt or sea salt to taste
lemon and/or orange zest, optional
Chives for garnish, optional
Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Serve on teaspoons or in won-ton cups (directions coming soon on how to make those.)
Maili’s Notes: Ahi can be diced a day in advance and tightly double-wrapped in plastic wrap. You don’t want air to get to the fish. If you are cutting a lot of fish you will want to get a saucer or bread plate and turn it upside down in the bottom of a bowl or container. Then place the cut fish on top of the inverted saucer. This way any liquid will drain underneath the fish and not touch the fish.