Albacore Tuna Poke with Jamaican Flair
This Albacore Tuna Poke is a colorful fusion dish, where sashimi-quality tuna and avocado cubes meet a marinade of coconut milk, tamarind paste, lime juice, and a touch of fish sauce.
With each bite, you’re gently transported to the sun-kissed shores of Jamaica. The tender tuna, the creaminess of coconut, the sweet-tart tamarind, and the citrusy notes of lime are a subtle nod to the island’s culinary charm. Roasted peanuts seal the deal as they incorporate the distinctive flavors of Jamaican jerk seasoning, a well-known and iconic element of Jamaican cuisine.
1 c. roasted/salted peanuts
3 T. jerk seasoning
2 T. olive oil
Toss peanuts with jerk seasoning and oil. Cook on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil in a 325°F pre-heated oven for 20 minutes. Let cool completely. There will be plenty peanuts leftover for snacking.
While readily available store-bought jerk seasoning can be a convenient option, there’s an undeniable charm in crafting your own jerk seasoning from scratch, utilizing an assortment of spices commonly found in your pantry. Whether your spice rack is fully stocked or you find yourself with a few ingredients missing, fear not; your homemade jerk seasoning will still infuse these peanuts with vibrant Jamaican flavors. Feel free to adjust ingredients to your liking.
1. 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
2. 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
3. 1/2 tablespoon dried onion salt
4. 2 teaspoons dried thyme
5. 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
6. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
7. 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
8. 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
9. 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
10. 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
11. 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
12. 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
13. 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
14. 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
15. 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
16. 1 tablespoon brown sugar
In a small bowl, mix everything except the brown sugar, then mix in the brown sugar (because it is moist). This will make more than needed for the peanut recipe. Store the remainder in an air-tight container for other uses.
1/2 c. coconut milk (unsweetened)
1 1/2 T. tamarind paste
1 T. lime juice
2 t. fish sauce
1 portion sashimi-quality albacore tuna (8 to 10 ounces), cubed
1 avocado (ripe but not soft), cubed
little multi-colored cherry tomatoes
flaky sea salt
In a medium bowl, whisk coconut milk with tamarind paste, lime juice, and fish sauce. Add cubed albacore, toss to coat and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, add avocado to the marinated albacore and gently toss to coat. Spoon albacore and avocado cubes into two or three shallow bowls. Arrange tomatoes, jerk peanuts, cilantro, mint, and scallions on top. Season with flaky sea salt. Serve extra sea salt and peanuts on the side. Vegetable-flavored corn chips add another pop of color contributing to the lively nature of Jamaican culinary style.
This dish was inspired by New Orleans Chef Nina Compton in Food & Wine magazine were she pairs her version with McBride Sisters Collection Reserve Chardonnay. “The crisp nature of the wine and the fact that it has just the right amount of acidity lend a great contrast to the richness of the tuna and coconut milk.”
More About Poke
My Interview with Chef Sam Choy on Sustainability and Poke here.
Known as the “Godfather of Poke,” Choy loves working with fresh fish and keeping it simple. The word poke (pronounced PO-kay) describes the method of preparation by cutting into cubes or slicing. Fish, vegetables, and even tofu – can all become poke. Choy is famous for making poke super-popular in the Islands when in 1991 he and a friend sponsored the first poke contest on the Big Island.
Salmon Cucumber Poke Bowl here
Albacore Tataki, Beluga Lentils, Lemon Soy Emulsion here
Elegant Seared Albacore, Roasted Mushrooms, Demi-Glace here
Flaming Seared Albacore, Peppercorn Brandy Cream Flambé here