Poke, pronounced both po-kee and po-kay, is a Hawaiian favorite. The word means “to slice or cut crosswise into pieces.” It is essentially a raw seafood salad similar to ceviche, which I adore! You can use octopus, squid, crab or any other fish for poke and there are a variety of recipes out there in the universe. Some cooks use mayonnaise to make a creamy version of the dish, but I prefer my poke naked or just barely dressed in a simple marinade.
When I can’t find super fresh ahi FOB (fresh off the boat), I use previously frozen fish. Availability of fresh fish is one reason to do this, but it is also for safety reasons.
The US FDA provides guidance under their Parasite Destruction Guarantee that states in part that fish intended to be consumed raw must be “frozen and stored at a temperature of -20°C (-4°F) or below for a minimum of 168 hours (7 days)”.
This makes a wonderful first course and works well as part of an Asian tapas-style meal. I like to serve it with fresh tortilla chips or fried wotons.
2 pounds of previously frozen ahi tuna
Juice and zest of one large lemon
2 tablespoons of sesame oil
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 teaspoon of sea salt
¼ cup of fresh spring onions (green tops only)
Sesame seeds for garnish
Rinse and pat the Ahi dry, then neatly cut it into small 1/2 inch cubes. Place in a bowl.
Add the green onion, soy sauce, sea salt, lemon juice, lemon zest and sesame oil and gently toss. Add sesame seeds to garnish. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate.