Tuna steaks and miso soup pair together in this Asian-inspired meal

These recipes are full of complementary flavor.
Published April 23

Tuna steak soaked in an Asian marinade and topped with crunchy sesame seeds pairs perfectly with poppy seeds in the first of these two Asian-inflected recipes.

On its own or in sashimi, tuna does not have an assertive taste. Marinate it, season it and grill it, and tuna comes alive.

Sear the top and bottom to get a nice crust, then leave the center just warmed but still rare. This tuna steak tastes like a buttery, umami-rich lean steak. You can also serve this tuna chilled.

To serve, slice ¼ inch thick, arrange on a platter and drizzle lightly with my version of Yum Yum Sauce. On the side, serve Japanese shoyu soy sauce, wasabi and more Yum Yum Sauce. My side dish favorites are fish spring rolls and fried rice. You can’t get takeout this good anywhere but your kitchen.

You can find Everything Bagel seasoning blend made by Tones and Trader Joe’s, and there are many other brands on Amazon.com. Or just make your own with my combination in the recipe below. This seasoning is great sprinkled on veggies, chicken and meat. It is also tasty as a topping for home-baked bread.

You can buy Yum Yum Sauce in the Asian section of your market. My homemade version is killer, and it is low-fat and refreshing on anything Asian.

Know your miso

More and more of us are discovering what a delicious ingredient concentrated miso paste can be in our daily cooking.

Happily, many major stores have caught on and are starting to carry a variety of traditional miso. This foundational Japanese ingredient can — and should — be used for more than just soup.

What is so good about miso? It is rich in essential minerals and a good source of vitamins B, E, K and folic acid. As a fermented food, miso provides the gut with beneficial bacteria that help us to stay healthy and happy.

White miso, also known as shiro, is made from soybeans that have been fermented with rice and various other ingredients, depending on the brand you choose. The actual resulting color can range from white to light beige and it has a definite sweet and lightly salty taste. It is much lower in salt than darker miso. Miso is fragrant and very tasty when added to soup, stir-fries or even baked goods. Keep this versatile condiment on hand and store in the refrigerator.

This springtime soup combines white miso and sherry, both very umami flavors. The vegetables are sauteed separately to keep their crunch and lively flavor. The last addition, just before serving, is baby spinach and julienned fresh basil. You can use regular basil or Thai basil. Add cooked soba (buckwheat) noodles, regular wheat linguine or plain cooked basmati rice to serve. If you like an intense miso flavor, stir in a dollop of miso paste into your portion.

Contact Lorraine Fina Stevenski at [email protected]

MODERATE

Asian Tuna Steaks With an Everything Crunch Topping

4 (8-ounce) tuna steaks

For the marinade:

¼ cup shoyu soy sauce, or regular lower-salt soy sauce

¼ cup good olive oil, not extra-virgin

¼ cup thinly sliced green onions, both green and white parts

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon wasabi paste

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon minced ginger

For the topping:

1 cup Everything Bagel seasoning blend, or a combination of ½ cup sesame seeds, ¼ cup poppy seeds, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 2 teaspoons fine sea salt and 1 teaspoon sweet paprika

For the Yum Yum Sauce:

1 cup low-fat mayonnaise

¼ cup water

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons ketchup

2 teaspoons brown sugar

½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon dry mustard powder

½ teaspoon sweet paprika

½ teaspoon ground white pepper

¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

Zest from 1 lemon

Marinate the fish: Dry the tuna with a paper towel. To a glass baking dish, add all the marinade ingredients and whisk to blend. Add tuna in a single layer, turning to coat. Marinate for 1 hour at room temperature, turning a few times to marinate evenly.

Make the topping: To a shallow bowl, add the Everything Bagel topping or all the ingredients for the topping. Coat the top, bottom and sides of the marinated fish. Press the crumbs on the fish to adhere. Discard the marinade liquid.

Coat a 12-inch grill pan generously with canola oil. You can cook the fish on top of your stove or on your grill. Heat the pan generously with canola oil until sizzling on high heat. Arrange the coated tuna in a single layer. Brown each side until crispy, about 5 to 8 minutes on each side.

Make the Yum Yum Sauce: To the bowl of a small food processor, add all the sauce ingredients. Pulse just until thick and smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serves 4.

Source: Lorraine Fina Stevenski

MODERATE

Springtime Chicken Miso Soup With Snow Peas, Carrots and Spinach

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces

Salt and pepper, to taste

3 tablespoons light olive oil, divided

2 fresh garlic cloves, finely minced

2 teaspoons grated ginger root

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1 tablespoon light tamari or soy sauce

1 tablespoon dry sherry

4 cups chicken stock

2 cups water

¼ cup white miso paste, or more to taste

8 ounces snow peas, ends removed, sliced thin

2 carrots, peeled, coarsely chopped

1 medium sweet onion, peeled, coarsely chopped

2 cups fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped

¼ cup fresh basil leaves, julienned

Soba noodles, basmati rice or wheat linguine, for serving

Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper to taste. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and saute on medium heat, about 4 minutes. Do not brown the meat.

Continuing on medium heat, add the garlic, ginger and brown sugar and let sizzle without browning. Stir in the tamari and sherry.

Add the chicken stock, water and white miso paste. Stir the mixture until the miso is dissolved. Gently simmer for about 20 minutes. Set aside covered off heat on the stovetop.

In a 12-inch skillet on medium-high heat, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and saute the snow peas, carrots and onion just until translucent, about 5 minutes. Set aside off heat on the stovetop. This mixture will be combined with the soup when ready to serve.

To the soup pot, add the cooked snow pea mixture, baby spinach and basil leaves, gently stirring to combine all the flavors. Top each portion of soup with soba noodles, rice or linguine. Serve more miso paste at the table.

Serves 8.

Source: Lorraine Fina Stevenski

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