We first discussed the combination of tuna, avocado and lotus root while shopping at a local Asian supermarket, M2M. In our neighborhood in the East Village, we are lucky to be surrounded by a wide variety of specialty markets. There is an Indian spice market on First avenue, around the corner from us is a Dominican market that satisfies the needs of this predominantly Latin neighborhood, and over on Third avenue is M2M, which sells every variety of soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and frozen dumpling you could ever need. Jon and I often walk the aisles of this store looking at all the different bottles of vinegar (all labeled in Chinese writing that we obviously cannot read) and try to guess what they are and think about what we could use them for. Besides selling fresh sushi and frozen treats, this market also has fresh fish and great produce, including lotus root, a favorite of mine. During the holidays, one of my mother’s friends always brings fried lotus root, and it has become a treat I look forward to, especially as it is one I have never cooked myself. When Jon and I found the lotus root, we thought it would be fun to fry and pair with the beautifully fresh tuna we saw there. Reminiscent of my favorite sushi roll, we added avocado and cucumber, and came up with a special citrusy ginger mayonnaise to give the bite a little tangy / spicy kick.
1 7-oz piece of Sushi-grade tuna
Black and white sesame seeds
1 Kirby cucumber, thinly sliced
1 Lotus root, thinly sliced
1 Avocado, sliced
For the Mayonnaise:
1 egg yolk
1 tsp Dijon
1 – 1 1/2 cups Canola oil
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest and juice of 1 lime
½ tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
½ tsp Sriracha
1 finger length ginger, grated
1 clove garlic, zested
Few drops of honey
Salt to taste
- Separate yolk from whites and reserve whites for another use. Combine yolk with Dijon and whisk well to thoroughly combine. Slowly add canola in a steady stream while vigorously whisking to create the emulsion that will be the base of your mayonnaise.
- Add remaining ingredients to mayonnaise, whisking well to combine with each addition.
For the Bite:
- Heat 3 cups canola oil in a small pot. While that’s working, slice the lotus root into ¼ inch thick rounds. Fry lotus rounds until crispy. You can tell they are done when they stop bubbling – the bubbles are water particles escaping from the root. Lay on paper towel and salt immediately.
- Cut tuna into 1×1 inch squares. Coat four sides of the squared tuna in black and white sesame seeds. Heat a small amount of oil in a pan and sear the tuna squares on the four seed-coated sides, about 10 seconds per side.
- Slice avocado into small rounds, approximately the width of the tuna square.
- Slice cucumbers as thin as possible to use as garnish.
- To assemble, place avocado on lotus chip and set tuna square onto avocado. Drizzle citrus mayo on tuna and top with cucumber rosette.
© 2010 Jonathan Meter and Jessica Hertle