Crudo is the Italian word for “raw.” It’s important to use the highest quality and freshest tuna. I like to experiment with building flavors that highlight the quality and pure taste of the fish rather than overpower it.
YIELD: 8–10 SERVINGS
1 pound highest quality tuna* (preferably a thick piece from the loin)
1 teaspoon salt
2 medium shallots, finely diced (about 1⁄4 cup)
2 teaspoons capers, drained well and chopped 1⁄4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
12 leaves basil, thinly sliced
1⁄4 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon (at least 2 tablespoons)
Sprinkle tuna generously with salt, followed by the shallots, capers, red pepper flakes, and basil. Place tuna in the freezer for 10 minutes; this helps it firm up, which makes it easier to slice. Using a sharp chef’s knife, cut the tuna into slices roughly 1/8-inch thick. As you work, gently press each slice onto the cutting surface with your fingers to flatten it, then transfer to a large platter.
Combine the olive oil and lemon juice in a sealable container, close the container, and shake well until the oil is emulsified. Spoon this vinaigrette over the fish. Serve immediately with noodle salad.
Divide noodles among 4–6 plates, placing them off to one side of each plate. Dot the center of the plate with three dots each of bang bang sauce and wasabi aioli. Place a slice of tuna on the other side of the plate and serve immediately.
The dressings all can be made a week in advance, covered, and refrigerated until ready to use.
2 (8-ounce) packages dried soba noodles
1 zucchini, grated with a wide grater or peeled into
thin strips with a vegetable peeler
1 tomato, seeded and cut into small pieces
1 red or green chile, seeded and thinly sliced 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips 1 green pepper, seeded and cut into strips
3 scallions, sliced
1 cup fresh cilantro, lightly chopped
1⁄2 cup chopped fresh basil
Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and cool. Combine all remaining ingredients and mix well. Finish with enough sauce (recipe below) to lightly coat noodles.
1/3 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice 4 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons chili sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced 2 tablespoons sugar
Mix all dressing ingredients together in a cup or small bowl until sugar dissolves. Taste for sour/ sweetness, adding more sugar as desired. Note that the taste of the dressing will be very “zingy” at this point because of the lime juice—it will taste milder when distributed among the noodles.
BANG BANG SAUCE
1⁄2 cup mayonnaise (preferably Hellman’s) 1⁄4 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
4–8 drops sriracha sauce
1 teaspoon peanut butter
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Reserve.
1 tablespoon prepared real wasabi paste 2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 egg yolks*
1 cup canola oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
In a food processor, blend wasabi paste, garlic, ginger, vinegar, and egg yolks. While processor is running, drizzle in oil, slowly at first until it emulsifies, then more quickly.
*Eating undercooked eggs and raw fish is not healthy for some people.
Spring and summer are great times for this light dish; however, it can be made any time of the year.
Instead of tuna you can use hamachi or salmon for this dish.