Tempura, seaweed and tuna, oh my
With the White Marlin Open right around the corner, there is one fish on everyone’s mind, and it is not white marlin.
No, the spiritus mundi in Ocean City will be tuna. Tuna is the quintessence of the WMO.
As many of us remember, smoked marlin was a treat in the early 1980s, but it is not to be cooked now in fear of depleting the
already shrinking population of this beautiful beast.
So, we look to other ports in the storm, and in this case, the famed Yellowfin serves us well.
Steaks, sandwiches and even salad can be pulled from the tuna loins. Poke (referring to one of my articles a couple of months ago) is another fascinating Hawaiian treat as long as the tuna is of a high enough grade.
And then there is sushi. There is little better than fresh, top-grade tuna in a sushi roll, but we can one-up that at this point by making a very untraditional crispy tuna roll.
The flavors of the tuna and the roasted seaweed nori are ever-present while the accoutrements listed below (pickled ginger, wasabi and seaweed salad) only add to the mouth-feel and contrasting experience of this roll.
Don’t be too stressed about finding the ingredients. Your local Asian market will sell everything that you need in order to create this.
All that you will need is a fryer or some hot oil in a frying pan and a little patience.
You can even roll some of these out beforehand, coat them and stick them in the refrigerator until you are ready to go. They will last up to one day coated with the tempura and panko.
As we gear up for the tournament, we are pricing out copious amounts of tuna and it is mind-boggling to think that it will all be over in a week.
With the thousands of people that will be flocking the weigh-ins, suffice it to say that we will sell more than a few sandwiches and tuna bites, another favorite at The Reel Inn.
I will start breaking down the fresh loins this weekend and then will be getting fresh tuna in daily. And then in the secret marinade it goes and the rest is history.
Added to the mayhem of the tournament is the surreal notion that the end of summer is just around the corner. With the excitement and workload of the past few months, it is hard to accept that the school year is just around the corner.
I guess I will need to find somewhere else to get my tuna fix once The Inn closes for the season.
Oh well, at least I know a few fishermen who can get some for me.
And before I know it, the next White Marlin Open will be upon us again, tuna and all.
Crispy Tuna Roll
5 ounces fresh tuna
1 Nori seaweed sheet
Tempura batter (recipe follows)
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
Hawaiian barbecue sauce (recipe follows)
Sushi accoutrements (ginger, wasabi, seaweed salad)
• Cut the tuna into long, thick strips
• Wet the nori sheet and roll the tuna tightly into a nice cylinder
• Dredge the roll in the dry ingredients that you set aside (see below)
• Immediately dip into the tempura batter and then the panko
• Place in a 350-degree fryer and cook for 1-1 1/2 minutes
• When just cool enough to handle, slice the ends off and then slice the roll into 6 equal pieces
• Place on a plate with your accoutrements in the middle
• Serve with the Hawaiian barbecue drizzled on top and chopsticks if you have ’em!
1 cup AP Flour
1 tbsp. cornstarch
Salt and white pepper as needed
1 1/2 cup soda water
• Combine the dry ingredients with a whisk and add the soda water until a thin batter has been achieved
You can pull some of the “dry” batter out to dredge the roll before battering. This will help the batter to stick to your roll better
Hawaiian Barbecue Sauce
4 cups soy sauce (Japanese Soyu brandpreferred)
3 cups sugar
1/4 cup cream sherry
2 tbsp. Sesame oil
2-inch piece ginger, peeled and crushed
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tbsp. Sesame seeds
1 tsp. Korean pepper flakes (optional)
• Combine all of the ingredients except for the sesame seeds and pepper flakes
• Cook until the sauce is thickened and you have leeched the flavor out of the garlic and ginger
• Strain through a fine mesh strainer and add the seeds and pepper flakes
• Allow to cool uncovered before placing a lid on it
• Keep in the refrigerator and use as needed
Paul G. Suplee CEC, PC III is a culinary instructor, food writer and mercenary chef. He lives in Ocean Pines with his wife and four kids, and is currently the kitchen manager at The Reel Inn in Ocean City.