Ever had a dish from a restaurant that was so delicious, so beautiful, so extraordinary...that you simply couldn't wait to have it again?? You spent the entire meal planning your next visit to the restaurant to order that very dish once more? Yea, me too. Well, when that restaurant happens to be in Maui, Hawaii, it's pretty difficult to have it more than once in a lifetime. I was recently blessed to be able to take a week-long vacation to Maui with my wonderful family- and it was at the Pineapple Grill in Kapalua that I had one of the best dishes of my life. After a couple moments of heartbreak walking out of the restaurant, realizing that I will more than likely never have that dish again, or at the very least, it would be a LONG time before I'd be back in Maui...I remembered that I am a chef! I had taken a couple photos, taken in-depth mental notes about my meal...Alas, problem solved. I would simply recreate the dish myself once I returned to the mainland. And without further adue, here is my recreation of the Ahi and Salmon Tartare at Pineapple Grill.
Ahi and Salmon Tartare
with Mango Salsa, Avocado Relish, Soy Glaze and Chili Oil
1 Ripe Mango- finely diced
1 Red Onion- finely diced
1 bunch of Cilantro- finely chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper- finely diced
Generous squeeze of Honey
Generous sprinkle of Cumin and/or Adobo
1 Ripe Avocado- small dice
1 Ahi Tuna Fillet (SUSHI/SASHIMI GRADE!!)
1 Salmon Fillet (SUSHI/SASHIMI GRADE!!)
NOTE: Sushi or Sashimi Grade fish has been frozen to -4 degrees Fahrenheit, to kill and destroy all bacteria that would otherwise be killed by cooking. This makes the fish safe to be consumed raw.
*Optional: Soy Glaze (1 cup Soy Sauce, 1/2 cup Light Brown sugar- brought to a boil, reduced to a simmer, let reduce by half until a semi-thick syrup. Put in a squirt bottle for garnishing)
*Optional: Chili Oil (in the ethinc food section- very spicy, be sparing!)
1. Dice all of the fruits and vegetables for the Mango Salsa and Avocado Relish. Chop the cilantro.
Save a bit of this onion for the Avocado Relish.
Again, save some of this cilantro for the Avocado Relish.
Next comes the lime juice.
Add in the honey and cumin and/or Adobo. Then stir to combine everything! Be sure to check and see if it suits your tastes.
Mango Salsa= Finished! Now, chop the Avocado and stir the rest of the ingredients together to make the delicious Avocado Relish. Remember- always taste everything to make sure it suits YOUR pallate! It may need more lime juice/salt/etc. for your liking.
Make perpendicular slits (be careful not to cut through the shell into your hand!) then spoon out the avocado meat. Add this to the previously chopped onion and cilantro. Add the juice of one lime.
Avocado Relish= Done! Cover it tightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge until you're ready to assemble the tartare.
Last, dice the raw tuna and salmon VERY finely. Morimoto style. :)
To assemble, you need a ring cutter or ring mold or biscuit cutter..something circular to allow you to layer the ingredients and maintain their shape. I chose to layer the salmon on the bottom, then the avocado relish, then the ahi tuna, then the mango salsa on top. CAREFULLY remove the ring mold to reveal a beautiful tower of deliciousness. It looks like this:
For a beautiful presentation and dramatic effect, drizzle the soy glaze and chili oil around the plate. If you have some, you can also sprinkle the plate with Red Hawaiian Sea Salt (one of my favorite souveniers from my trip!)
This dish may look fancy and difficult, but it really wasn't at all. It just takes a little time to do all the chopping and such, but it was well worth the trouble! I served it with some exotic chips that I found at a specialty food market. Give this recipe a try and impress your friends and family! Thank you, Pineapple Grill. Or should I say, "Mahalo!"
The Chef Next Door