Today’s salad is another one of those ‘barely warrants a recipe’ style meals. It’s so simple, ridiculously good for you and legitimately delicious. What’s not to love? It’s also super versatile – and can be served really with whatever type of rice / fish / seasonal vegetables take your fancy. Even cooked fish, such as smoked salmon or trout make a great addition if fresh sashimi tuna is hard to find.
I’ll have to add a disclaimer and say that this meal was originally inspired by one of my favourite dishes at any of Bill Granger’s restaurants in Sydney (Oh Bill, WHY still no restaurant in Melbourne?). When in Sydney I always seek out his delicious tuna brown rice bowl, which is served with samphire, a tasty Australian native succulent vegetable. The difference in our version is the inclusion of black rice, which is wonderfully nutty, and when seasoned with sesame oil, Japanese ‘gomasio’ and lemon zest, adds a tangy, moreish intensity to the dish.
Be sure to buy sashimi grade fresh tuna from the best fish shop you know – and eat it within 24 hours to ensure the cleanest, brightest taste and non-fishy smell! (In Melbourne, we like Claringbolds’ in the Prahran market, or Canals Seafoods in North Carlton. Many Japanese grocers will also sell excellent fresh tuna ready to slice).
Ingredients (Serves 4)
For the Salad
1 cup black rice (I bought mine in a packet just from my local IGA)
2 steaks (200g – 400g) of very fresh sashimi grade tuna
1 baby endive (green or purple, sometimes called chicory)
1 handful of fresh watercress leaves
3 small radishes
2 mini cucumbers
1 large ripe avocado
For the rice seasoning
2 tablespoons sesame oil
½ tablespoon lemon juice
lemon zest from roughly ½ a lemon
Japanese ‘gomasio’ sesame salt seasoning
Black sesame seeds
Cook your black rice according to packet instructions – except, I like to add just a little less water than is suggested, to ensure the rice doesn’t overcook. (Usually, I find the perfect ratio for 1 cup of rice is about 1 + ¾ cups of water). Cover the rice with the cold water in a heavy bottomed pan and bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes or until al dente (cooked but still nutty, not too soft!).
When cooked, remove rice from the pot immediately to prevent overcooking – tip into a large metal mixing bowl and separate out the grains with a fork, set to one side to coolant dry out a bit.
Wash and prepare your salad ingredients – separate endive leaves, trim and tidy your watercress leaves, slice your radishes and mini cucumber finely. Arrange these elements on your serving plates.
Once your rice has cooled, it’s time to season it. This really replaces the ‘dressing’ in this salad, and is the secret to success with this dish! First, add lemon zest from about half a lemon – zest it directly over the rice bowl to catch all the fragrant oil from the zest as you do so. Drizzle around 1-1½ tablespoons of sesame oil over the rice and mix through with a fork. Add ½ tablespoon of lemon juice to taste. Sprinkle a few shakes of gomasio seasoning over the rice and stir through. Taste and adjust flavours accordingly. Then divide the rice between all plates.
Lastly, slice your tuna steak into roughly 6mm thick slices and divide between all plates. Slice your avocado into wedges and serve alongside. Drizzle tuna, avocado and salad leaves with remaining sesame oil, and sprinkle with the gomasio seasoning and black sesame seeds.
OUTRAGEOUSLY good and so simple.