Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Paper Chef Challenge

This months paper chef ingredients were all surprising complimentary. The lovely Alison from Local Lemons selected them on a very unusual randomiser :) You'll have to checkout her blog to see how she chose them.
Her random ingredients were: asparagus, artichoke, tuna, and her final selection of vodka.
All the ingredients were readily available, especially the vodka (its always in the freezer at our place) and its starting on artichoke season.
My local fishmonger always has fresh sashimi grade tuna available and while its not asparagus season, thanks to climate controlled greenhouses its always available fresh.
So what to make? I decided on vodka cured tuna on a bed of asparagus, artichoke and jicama. The last ingredient I came across at the market. Its a Mexican yam with a flavour and texture similar waterchestnut or nashi, and I decided that it would make a nice contrast to the other ingredients. The cured tuna becomes very tender & delicate with a slightly translucent quality. Even Paul, who's not a fan of raw fish loved it.

1 tbls coarse salt flakes
1 tbls caster sugar
1 tbls vodka (more if you feel in need of a shot for yourself)
1 tbls coarsely chopped dill
1 clove crushed garlic
200g fresh tuna fillet
4 fresh artichoke, prepared & halved
12 fresh asparagus spears
Fresh jicama, finely julienned
Fresh fennel finely slices
Lemon juice
Olive oil

Mix the salt sugar vodka garlic & dill in a bowl and spread all over the tuna fillet.
Place the fillet on a plate and pour any remaining mixture over it.
Cover with cling film pressing down on the tuna making sure its cover with the film.
Place another plate or board on the tuna and weigh it down with a weight.
Leave overnight or 24hr in the fridge to cure.
Steam the asparagus & allow to cool to room temp.
Make a simple dressing of the lemon juice, olive oil & cream and season to taste.
Toss the jicama, fennel, asparagus and artichokes in the dressing and plate.
Remove the cure tuna from the fridge and scrape off any dill or garlic.
Very thinly slice the tuna with a very sharp knife.
Arrange on a plate to your liking and serve.