RECIPE: BLUEFIN BELLY & LOIN SASHIMI OVER CUCUMBER FENNEL MANDARIN SALAD

Bluefin. Just say it out loud. “Bluefin.” I’m pretty sure when you said it you didn’t have a single, negative thought in your head… unless of course one broke your heart right at the gaff. From a culinary standpoint, it’s arguably the cleanest, smoothest, and most flavorful fish to eat in its raw preparation. “Like butter” is a common phrase during a bluefin feast, especially when it comes to Toro. Both belly (Toro) and loin (Maguro/Akami) have a place on the plate and it’s a tossup on preference, depending on the diner. My simple solution is easy. Eat both.  

It’s amazing how things have changed over the past five years or so. Not only have the bluefin continued to show up in epic numbers, but also bigger in size. Who would’ve thought that you could offer a neighbor a big slab only to get the reply of, “No thanks – I already have so much I don’t even know what to do with it all.” Or “I’m tired of bluefin – do you have anything else?” Ah, but soon the season will be over, and people will very quickly remember (and miss) this silly little first-world problem… pondering when these massive, migratory tuna will show again. 

View Next Recipe: Fresh Mahi Mahi with Sundried Tomato Coconut Milk Sauce

For now, they’re here and holding strong and the best way to honor the fish is in its raw state. I’ll certainly be addressing fish care in another piece later, but the quick lowdown is that you need to keep the tuna dry. Wrapping the large pieces in paper towels and changing them for at least the first two days is a must to avoid fishy fish. Properly cared for toro/akami/maguro is one of the greatest delicacies on Earth, so just do it right. Hopefully this variation will help you break away from the “same ol’ thing” and deliver some variation in both flavor and texture in the dish.   

Bluefin tuna belly otoro
Bluefin tuna belly otoro
Bluefin tuna belly otoro
Recipe Ingredients
Recipe Ingredients
Cucumber Fennel Mandarin Salad
Cucumber Fennel Mandarin Salad
Cucumber Fennel Mandarin Salad
Bluefin tuna sashimi with cucumber fennel mandarin salad
Bluefin tuna sashimi with cucumber fennel mandarin salad
Hungry? View more recipes on the Recipes Forum

Ingredients

1-3
  • One bluefin belly (Toro) and one loin (Maguro/Akami) 
  • 4-6 Persian cucumbers
  • ½ Fennel bulb
  • ½ Can mandarin oranges with juice
  • 1 TBSP fresh ginger or 1 ½ TBSP pickled ginger
  • 2 Green onions
  • 1-2 TBSP masago or tobiko
  • Sesame seeds (1 TBSP black and 1 TBSP white)
  • Lemon and lime wedges
  • 1 TBSP blood orange EVOO (plus another for later)
  • 1 Tsp sesame oil (plus another for later)
  • 1 Tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tsp champagne vinegar
  • 1 TBSP ponzu shoyu/soy sauce
  • 1 TBSP juice reserved from mandarin oranges
  • Cyprus flake salt (or similar) to taste

Preparation

  1. Like always (and I mean every single time) pat fish dry.
  2. Cut fish to size in preparation for sashimi slices and return to fridge.
  3. Cut cucumbers and fennel into thin slices (fennel in quarter-moon slices).
  4. Mince the mandarin oranges, ginger, and green onion.
  5. Mix all ingredients in a small mixing bowl, plus 1 Tsp salt and put into a Tupperware or Ziplock bag with all the cut/minced ingredients and shake. Return to fridge and shake every 30 minutes.  
  6. After a couple of hours and when you’re ready to eat, open the bag and pour out all the liquid…then transfer the ingredients into a mixing bowl, where you want little to no liquid. Add another tablespoon of the blood orange evoo, another teaspoon of sesame oil and squeeze a few wedges of fresh lemon and lime. 
  7. Now is the time to add the black and white sesame seeds and mix. Add salt if needed, do a final mix, and lay out on the serving platter. 
  8. At the last moment, remove the fish from the fridge, cut sashimi slices carefully against the grain and lay the slices around the salad. 
  9. Spoon the masago or tobiko over the top of the salad and serve with your preferred ponzu/shoyu/soy sauce with wasabi.  
Let’s just say, Adam Traubman could use a few more hours in each day. “Trout” can’t go more than 24 hours without fishing, surfing, paddling, diving, anything without getting the wiggles. So with a wife, three kids, two dogs, three snakes, an organic garden AND work... the man has his work c...