One of the things I love the most about living where we do, in the suburbs of northern Virginia, is the crazy high number of Asian people living in this area. It’s okay for me to say that because I am, in fact, one of those Asian people contributing to that high number. Ge Ge gets really confused whenever we’re at Costco in Fairfax, mainly because it’s like little Asia, especially on Sunday mornings. The last time we were there, I rubbed elbows with a tiny Chinese woman while fighting someone who looks eerily like my dad for the last clamshell of decent-looking strawberries. Ge Ge scanned the vast warehouse with standing-room only and turned back to me.
“Is this what it was like when you took me shopping in Malaysia?” he asked.
“Sure, except that it was outside, a lot dirtier, more cramped and about 30 degrees hotter.”
“Wow, that’s a lot of Asian people in a small, hot space.”
One of the best benefits of living in such an Asian-rich area is that there’s access to amazing Asian ingredients all of the time. A couple of weeks ago, I ventured into my local Korean H-Mart to find that the store had flown in an entire bluefin tuna, which meant that I had to have some tuna sashimi and radish salad, of course.
GET ALL THE LATEST RECIPES, RESTAURANT REVIEWS & MORE FROM GRITS & CHOPSTICKS BY FOLLOWING ME ON INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK, PINTEREST OR TWITTER!
As you can see, my reaction to seeing this little display of bluefin tuna being hacked to order wasn’t normal. After squealing and clapping, I took a selfie. Actually, now that I think about it, selfies are a pretty normal occurrence in Asian supermarkets.
When tuna is super fresh, the way this bluefin tuna was, you don’t have to do a whole lot with it. I sliced up buttery, Hawaiian poke-sized chunks (about a 1/2 inch cubed; this post here has a good photo of how to go about cutting your tuna). I made a quick ponzu (a citrusy soy sauce) dressing and tossed some radishes, cilantro, scallions and jalapeno together. Together, the tuna sashimi and radish salad made a lovely little lunch appetizer, with a nice, spicy crunch and creamy, creamy tuna.
Seriously, the tuna we had was so fresh that it was creamy, like delicious, fishy butter. I still daydream about it.
For the kids, the jalapeno rounds that I added would have been too spicy for them, so instead I just sliced up fresh chunks of tuna and let them pick at parts of the radish salad as they wanted to. I felt kind of like I was feeding baby birds. I’d cut up a few pieces of tuna, and no sooner had I set it down on the table than it would disappear, and some child would chirp like Oliver Twist:
“Please, may I have some more?”
Eventually we ran out of tuna. I am not made of money, and $20 gets you a scant 7-8 ounces of fresh bluefin tuna, which the kids gobbled in less than 5 minutes. The kids skittered off, and the hubby and I were left with the dregs of radish salad to pick at.
Sometimes I worry that I’m spoiling the kids with food. What’s going to happen when they go to college and realize that the dining hall doesn’t slice up bluefin tuna to order? Is that a legitimate fear to have, as a parent?
I’m thinking maybe not.
- 8 ounces (1/2 pound) sashimi grade tuna, sliced into ½-inch chunks (see here for a photo on how to cut it)
- 3 radishes, cut into ½ inch chunks
- ½ cup cilantro, de-stemmed and chopped
- 1 scallion, chopped on the diagonal, including green and white parts
- 1 jalapeno, deseeded and cut into slices
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- zest of 1 lemon
- juice of ½ lemon
- ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, soy sauce, lemon juice and sesame oil. Taste and add salt and pepper for seasoning.
- Add radishes, cilantro, scallion and jalapeno to the dressing and toss to combine.
- Serve immediately with tuna chunks.