In Seattle, it’s a well-guarded secret that September and sunshine go hand in hand. This is how I manage to sneak in a few final al fresco dinners before the need for simmering stews and hot hearty fare takes over completely. September is also one of the best times of year to visit Uwajimaya, Seattle’s premier shopping destination for arcane Asiatica. Since it is harvest time all over the Northern Hemisphere, Uwajimaya has some crazy unheard of produce on-hand, from yama-imo (Japanese mountain potatoes) to Vietnamese nubbly Jackfruit.
Go in with a camera and a translator and you’ll come out all the richer for it. In fact I nominate Uwajimaya as one of the best “stay-cation” ideas of the year. It’s one of the only places in town where you can immerse yourself in a uniquely interesting culture without buying a plane ticket.
My homage to Hawaii and her glorious Ahi tuna doesn’t seem so exotic after perusing Uwajimaya’s shelves, but oh man, this is a popular dish. Not that these people even exist anymore, but if you do have a friend who wrinkles her nose at the mere suggestion of sushi, slide a bit of this plate under her nose without telling her what it is. All thoughts of raw fish will evaporate into mmmmm’s and aaaaah’s of yummy joy before she knew what hit her.
This meal would be great picnic fare- you can make the Ahi marinade a few hours in advance, just fry up your crisps, put them into a bag, and tote your salsa and Poke down to Discovery Park to catch an early, fiery sunset on the sound. Bring along some unfiltered sake to sip on chilled while you soak in the last September rays. Then, to take the edge off once the sun sets, open your thermos of hot sake- it will warm your heart and clear your head.
Ahi Poke with Fried Wonton Crisps and Mango Avocado Salsa
- 1 lb sushi-grade Ahi tuna sliced into ¼” cubes
- ½ c tamari (good quality soy sauce)
- 2 garlic cloves chopped fine
- 2 scallions (green only, chopped fine)
- 1 tsp chopped ginger
- 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- ¼ c chopped macadamia nuts
- Combine all ingredients in medium bowl, refrigerate for 2-4 hours, and serve with fried wonton crisps and mango avocado salsa.
Fried Wonton Crisps
- 1 package wonton wrappers
- Heavy-bottomed saucepan filled with 1” canola oil
- Alaea salt
- 1. Cut wonton wrappers along the diagonal two times forming four triangles. You can cut several at once, and use as many as you want to offer per person- I suggest 12-15, so for four people you will cut approximately 60 chips.
- 2. Heat oil to 350-360°. Fry two wonton wrappers at a time, 15-20 seconds per side until golden brown. Remove from oil, place on sheetpan lined with paper towels to drain oil. Repeat with remaining wrappers and finish with a light smattering of Hawaiian Alaea salt.
Mango Avocado Salsa
- 1 ripe mango
- 2 avocados
- 1 large heirloom tomato
- Juice of 1 lime
- ¼ c mint chopped fine
- 2 garlic cloves
- Black lava salt to taste
- Cut mango, avocado and tomato into ¼” cubes and place in small mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients, mix and serve within 1 hour.
Rim a round plate with wonton crisps. Place a large dollop of salsa and a large dollop of Ahi poke in the center of the plate. Invite your guests to use the wonton crisps to scoop the fillings much like chips and salsa. Enjoy!