Tuna, asparagus and poached egg 鮪漬けの炙りとアスパラガスの温玉添え

japanese cake

The type of tuna sashimi blocks 鮪の刺身の冊 I can get at our Japanese grocery store is limited to frozen ahi or yellowfin tuna キハダマグロ, which was treated with carbon monoxide to give it a bright red color (carbon monoxide sounds bad but it is no health hazard when used on food like this). I always keep a tuna block in our freezer “just-in-case”. I have to rotate the stock every several months since unlike wine, the tuna does not improve with time.  Since I bought a new tuna block when I stopped by our Japanese grocery store this weekend, I took the old one out of the freezer to thaw. I have posted  many times how to make this low-quality tuna sashimi palatable. One of the ways is to make “Zuke” 漬けor marinated tuna.  So, I sliced half of the tuna sashimi block and marinated it in a “Goma-dare” ゴマだれ (see below) the night before. This time, I did not do “Yubiki” 湯引き or cooking the surface by dunking it in boiling water and then ice water to halt the cooking.  I was not sure how I would serve this “zuke maguro” (marinated tuna) until I learned we were starting the evening with red wine. Then the “path” became pretty clear;

I had to come up with something that went well with red wine.  This dish was the result. I was inspired by  this picture in one of the food blogs I follow. This dish is grilled asparagus, poached egg with grated Pecorino Romano and botargo.  Since I did not have botargo or karasumi からすみ, I omitted it and used grated Parmigiano-Reggiano instead of Pecorino Romano. Seared zuke tuna is my addition. I poached the eggs as I posted before

Since I prepared green asparagus that morning, this was an easy dish to put together once I decided what I would make. 

Tuna preparation:

  1. I thawed the frozen block of tuna overnight in the refrigerator. I sliced half of the block into half inch thick slices.
  2. This time I made “Goma-dare” for marinade.  I first dry roasted white sesame seeds in a dry frying pan (1 tsp) until slightly darkened and fragrant (the sesame was already roasted but re-roasting it add much more flavor). I ground the seeds in a Japanese Suribachi すり鉢 mortar. I then added mirin, sake and soy sauce in a ratio of 1:1:2.
  3. I placed the tuna and the marinade in a Ziploc bag to make sure all the surface of the tuna was covered with marinade and removed as much air from the bag as I could. I sealed the bag and kept it in the refrigerator overnight.
  4. The next evening, I took out the tuna slices, blotted the excess marinade from the surface (picture below) and cut one slice into two.

I thought searing one of the surfaces would add texture and a beef-like flavor which would go better with red wine. I seared the pieces two ways; one by using a kitchen blow torch (those are the ones with the black specs in the picture below) and the other seared in a frying pan with melted butter (the shiny ones on the tops row and right of bottom row).  

Asparagus prepration:

I got thick spears of green asparagus from our grocery store. I removed the bottom by simply bending and breaking it. Using a vegetable peeler, I peeled the bottom half of the skin and blanched the stalk in salted water. Just before assembling this dish, I quickly sautéed it in melted butter and seasoned with salt and black pepper.


I cut the asparagus on the bias into 3-4 pieces. I arranged the pieces to look like a whole uncut asparagus spear, resting diagonally on a square plate. I arranged the two kinds of seared tuna squares on one side of the asparagus and placed a poached egg on the other side. I grated Parmisiano-Reggiano on top.

This dish followed my octopus carpaccio and we enjoyed it with a glass of Louse M. Martini Napa Cab as before. The tuna was seasoned well from the marinade and became firmer than non-marinated tuna. Searing added beef like flavor but we could not tell the differences between torched vs. pan seared. The combination of runny warm yolk and asparagus cannot go wrong. This dish really went well with the California Cab we were having.

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