I've got a very different recipe for you today. One of my favorite foods in the world is sushi. To me, nothing beats a meal of fresh flavorful fish combined with white sticky rice and creamy avocado. I have always said, if I lived on the west coast with easy access to fresh sushi around every corner, I would most likely develop mercury poisoning from eating too much raw fish.
Luckily (or unluckily), I live in Charlotte, so it is a little more difficult to find a super fresh sushi places. But if you live in the Charlotte area, I highly recommend going to Yama Asian Fusion for sushi. This restaurant BY FAR has the freshest fish and not a ton of "Americanized" rolls. And when I say "Americanized" rolls, I means rolls that are filled with imitation crab, cream cheese, non-fish items, or they are just loaded with less expensive ingredients (i.e. cucumber). This place is filled with great quality fish and fresh ingredients. They let each ingredient do the talking, and the rolls are not loaded with tons of sauces. My favorite roll is the HM Roll - tuna and avocado roll with more fresh tuna on top and just the right amount of tempura flakes for a little crunch. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!
Sushi is definitely one of those items I do not even try to attempt making at home. I tried it once, and the time and money it took to make sushi at home was definitely worth just going out for dinner. So while sushi rolls are not something I will be re-attempting at home, there is one raw fish dish that I make on a regular basis: poke!
So poke actually originated in Hawaii and literally means "to slice or cut." I like to think of it almost like an Asian inspired ceviche, where you are really just marinating your fish in a flavorful soy based sauce. Poke is very easy to make at home, and in Charlotte I've found there are only a handful of restaurants that prepare fresh poke. However, the key to making great quality poke at home is to start with great quality ingredients; namely, the fish!
You know I'm not just going to go to my regular grocery store to pick up some fish to eat raw. I want to insure the fish I purchase is sushi grade quality and has had a short travel time from ocean to my plate. Since Charlotte isn't exactly near the water, that can come at a price. But my go-to place for ultra fresh, sushi grade fish is Clean Catch.
Clean Catch is the place to go for fresh fish that is flown in daily. They know all about their seafood down to where it was caught, when it was caught, and how it was caught. Be wary though.. there are no posted prices of any of the fish. And due to the limited supply of some of the fresh fish they receive, it can easily become more expensive than a nice dinner for two. So I typically go here for special occasion meals, or when I want to eat my fish raw. Just ask the price if before you order. They typically always have a supply of sushi grade salmon and tuna available, which are my go-to fish when I want to make poke at home. Also bonus at Clean Catch: they will skin the cut the fish into bite sized cubes for you; you just have to ask!
Beyond selecting the fish, the remaining ingredients are fairly easy to find at any local Asian grocery store or even in the international foods sections of larger chain grocery stores. Mix all the ingredients together and allow to marinate for at least one hour. Serve on warm sticky rice with avocado and enjoy!
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour + 15 minutes
Makes 2 servings
- 3/4 lbs. sushi grade salmon (faroe island salmon), cut into ½ inch cubes
- ⅓ cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon Sambal oelek - ground fresh chili paste
- 1 heaping teaspoon furikake flakes (rice seasoning mix)
- 1 tablespoon ponzu
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 4-5 Dashes of oyster fish sauce
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 1 cup white sticky rice, cooked
- 1 cup guacamole
- Pour first 9 ingredients into a small bowl and ensure all salmon is covered by liquid. Marinade in fridge for at least 1 hour.
- To serve, place a biscuit cutter or ring mold onto a serving plate. Layer in a shallow layer of sticky rice, followed by the guacamole. Make sure each layer is firmly packed down and level before moving onto the next layer. Each layer should be about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
- Finally, top the guacamole layer with the marinated salmon. Carefully remove the ring mold and serve immediately.