Albacore Tuna Sashimi with Citrus-Soy Dressing and Cucumber Pearls

From the cook book Araxi: Seasonal Recipes from the Celebrated Whistler Restaurant, by James Walt, Published 2009 by Douglas and McIntyre, an imprint of D&M Publishers. Reprinted with permission of the publisher.

Serves 4


12 oz. (340 gm) Canadian Albacore Tuna Loin
1 cup (240 ml) daikon radish, sliced into thin matchsticks
8 shiso leaves
½ cup (125 ml) citrus soy-dressing

Cucumber Pearls:

2 cups (500 ml) vegetable oil
2 English cucumbers-halved and seeded
4 leaves gelatin
¼ oz. (8 gm) granulated gelatin
1 Tbsp (15 ml) red wine gastrique
¼ tsp (1ml) kosher salt

Citrus-soy dressing:

1/5 cups (315 ml) soy sauce
7/8 cup (220 ml) orange juice
½ cup (80m.l) water

Place all of the ingredients in t medium bowl and whisk until blended. Strain the dressing through a fine-mish sieve or cheesecloth into a clean bowl. Refrigerate for 45 minutes, until chilled. Will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Red wine gastrique:

¼ cup (60 ml) granulated sugar
2 Tbsp (30 ml) water
¼ cup (60 ml) red wine vinegar

When serving this tuna dish, be sure the fish is very cold. The shiso leaves, which taste like cumin, have a cooling effect as well and freshen your taste buds. And the more you rinse the daikon, the more the sharp radish taste dissipates and the crunchier it becomes. The technique for making the cucumber pearls also works with carrot o beet juice.

Sashimi: Place the daikon in a bowl of ice-cold water and allow to stand for 20 minutes. Drain, then repeat twice with fresh ice water to crisp the daikon and soften the flavor. Refrigerate until needed.

Cucumber Pearls: Pour the vegetable oil into a glass bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours. Run the cucumber through a juicer or puree t in a blender and press it through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Reserve 1 cups/250 ml of the juice. Discard any solids and any extra juice.

Pour ½ cup (125 ml) water into a small bowl, then add the gelatin leaves and allow them to soften for 3 minutes. If using granulate gelatin, sprinkle it onto the cold water and allow to soften for 3 minutes.

In a small sauce pan, heat a quarter of the cucumber juice, the red wine gastrique and the salt on allow heat for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the gelatin, and stir to dissolve. Add the remaining cucumber juice and refrigerate the mixture for 10 minutes to allow it to cool slightly.

Transfer the juice mixture to a squeeze bottle (or use a spoon), and, working quickly, drip many small drops into the chilled oil. The drops will set into little balls. Strain the mixture through a fine-mish sieve. (The oil can be saved to make salad dressing.) The pearls will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

To Serve: Divide the daikon among 4 bowls. Thinly slice the tuna into 12 pieces. Arrange 3 slices of tuna over the daikon in each bowl, then garnish with 2 shiso leaves and a spoonful of cucumber pearls. Serve the citrus-soy dressing in an individual dipping bowls on the side.

Wine: New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc would match well. Or enjoy a dry Vouvray.