I’ve always been intrigued by authentic poke, however, sushi-grade tuna in St. Louis, Missouri can be a roll of the dice unless you’re a sushi restaurant. So for this light yet filling dish, I elected to first poach the tuna in olive oil until it was just pink in the center, then I finished the ‘cooking’ ceviche-style using rice wine vinegar and lemon juice along with aromatic and bold flavors like shallots, jalapeno, pickled ginger, oyster sauce, and sesame oil. The delicate rice paper was the perfect vehicle to pull all of those wonderful flavors together.
For the Tuna:
2 cups olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
1 lemon rind peeled into strips
1-pound yellowfin tuna fillet
For the Filling:
1/2 cup English cucumber, finely minced
2 tablespoons chopped scallions
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
2 tablespoons chopped jalapeno pepper
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons pickled ginger, chopped
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
For the Rolls:
2 cups prepared sushi rice
4 (8-inch) round sheets rice paper
1 cup trimmed watercress
1 cup fresh spinach, stems removed
1/2 cup radishes, thinly sliced
For the Sauce:
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons minced shallots
1 teaspoon minced jalapeño pepper
1) Place the oil, lemon rind, ginger, and crushed garlic in a small deep pan. Bring the oil to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Remove the pan from the heat and add the tuna. Let the fish poach undisturbed for 20 minutes.
2) Remove the tuna from the oil and dice it into bite-sized pieces. Place the tuna in a bowl and add the cucumber, scallions, shallots, jalapeno, pickled ginger, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sesame seeds, lemon juice, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and red pepper flakes; toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
3) Add hot water to a large, shallow dish to a depth of 1 inch. Place one rice paper sheet in the dish and let it soak for 30 seconds or just until soft.
4) Transfer the rice paper sheet to a flat surface and arrange several of the radish slices, and the spinach and watercress leaves on one half of the rice paper, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Top with 1/2 cup of the rice and spread evenly.
5) Spoon two to three tablespoons of the tuna mixture on top of the rice, then fold the sides of the sheet over the filling, starting with the filled side, and roll it up jelly-roll fashion. Repeat this step with the remaining rice paper sheets. Cut each roll in half diagonally.
6) Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Serve the sauce with the rolls.