This is a basic, simple “recipe” for poke, a native Hawaiian dish made with diced raw fish (typically tuna) served as either an appetizer or a main course. In its purest, most mild form, the flavor of the tuna really shines through. But feel free to explore the many variations—all are fresh and delicious when they begin with Tre-Fin Day Boat Tuna.
Albacore tuna loin(s)
Toasted sesame oil
Coarsely ground black pepper
Red pepper flakes
Thinly sliced green onions
Lightly toasted sesame seeds
Remove the fish from the freezer and leave it out on the counter (still in its package) for 30 to 60 minutes. You want the fish to soften slightly, but remain mostly frozen as it will cut more easily this way.
After you remove the loin from the package, find the skin side. It will have noticeable lines on it that are easily shaved off with a sharp knife if the loin is slightly softened, but still frozen. This step isn’t necessary for a recipe that requires cooking, but is worth doing for poke as it makes a difference in the final appearance.
Slice the loin into medallions, or cross sections, 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick. Cut each medallion into cubes. The size of the cubes is a personal preference; larger chunks have more texture and accentuate the fish, but if you’re feeding a less adventurous crowd, smaller pieces will probably go over better.
Place the cubed fish, which is still mostly frozen, in a large mixing bowl. Working with the cubed fish while it is frozen means the pieces hold together better while adding the other ingredients and mixing. Add a generous amount of sesame oil and use your hands to toss the fish, lightly and evenly covering the pieces. You want a good coating on all of the fish, which will help preserve its natural color as it is exposed to oxygen, and allow the other ingredients to adhere.
Add sea salt, coarsely ground black pepper, garlic powder, thinly sliced green onions, red pepper flakes and sesame seeds. Toss the fish to mix and taste. Continue adding more of each seasoning until it tastes like you want it to—you really can’t go wrong! That said, proceed with caution and a light hand when adding the red pepper flakes so you don’t end up with something that’s too spicy for your crowd.
For a meal, serve the poke over rice after drizzling it with soy sauce. To serve it as an appetizer, add rice crackers for dipping. You can also wrap the poke into a sushi roll or in a spring roll wrapper with white rice.
There are more than you can imagine! Lots of recipes call for adding soy sauce or Ponzu directly to the fish, which tastes great, but tends to discolor the fish. You can skip that step by adding the soy sauce to the rice instead. Avocado is a delicious addition, thinly sliced radish adds crunch, and seaweed salad is a nice complement, texturally and thematically!