If I had a food philosophy, it could be summarized by the following: fast, fresh, local, anti-convenience.
I tacked the last part because fast, fresh and local food is available from many of our neighborhood restaurants; you can have it hand-delivered within minutes. But the anti-convenience gene makes me want to make it from scratch.
I make just about everything from scratch. Why bother with Organic Avenue’s ginger beet juice when I can make it at home with way more effort and virtually the same cost?
This might perplex people, but those who like to make things by hand will sympathize. I’m talking to you pasta-makers, bread-bakers, and ice cream-churners. We take the labor-intensive route, but in the end, I always think that food tastes better when it’s made at home.
When we moved to our apartment in Chelsea, eating out wasn’t a choice. Our kitchen renovation took months, leaving us to either starve or find sustenance in the neighborhood. Which, when you’re living in New York City, isn’t the worst problem to have.
Momoya, a Japanese restaurant on 7th Avenue, quickly became a favorite. To the point where I had to institute house rules about switching who got to choose location.
To this day, left to his own devices, Rodney will order every delivery meal from Rocking Horse (chicken burrito, hold the watercress), and make every date night reservation at Momoya.
There, we get the same thing: tuna tarte, spicy tuna rolls, tuna, tuna, tuna, maybe a little bit of salmon to keep the peace.
The odd thing about our love affair with tuna is that we rarely eat it at home.
Foragers Market is just a few blocks from home making it our go-to destination for groceries. The downside is that although Foragers carries the best roast chickens in the city, its smaller footprint (compared to Whole Foods just a few blocks over) means that they don’t carry certain items, including fresh seafood.
But, here’s the great news. I recently came across a new service called Our Harvest which delivers greenmarket produce (the kind of stuff that you’d normally find exclusively at farmers’ markets), fresh meats, fish and artisan – right to your door.
My first box came with so many great ingredients – sashimi-grade tuna, radishes, shiso dressing, heirloom tomatoes, honeyed lavender goat cheese, whipped honey – that it was hard not to create a dish that used every last ingredient.
I realized that with some of my favorite Japanese-7-spice in the cupboard, I could replicate our favorite flavors from Momoya, with a farmer’s market / Asian fusion spin.
Over the years, Asian fusion dishes have gotten a bad rap, but often it’s because the execution isn’t great. Personally, I love to mix and match ingredients and flavors, bringing inspiration from one tradition into another.
And I especially love making tostadas – crispy corn tortillas which you can pile high with whatever ingredients you’ve got on hand.
These tostadas used some eclectic flavors but on the whole, the ingredients worked well. A white bean base is topped with funky Japanese 7-spice seared tuna, pickled black radish & turnip and slivered dandelion greens for color. Plus the whole thing is drizzled with a wasabi sauce for a little heat.
If you want to learn more about Our Harvest, you can check out their website here. It’s convenience for the anti-convenience people who – like me – want high quality ingredients for our home-cooked experiments.
For now they’re serving NY markets – Long Island, Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan. And if all goes well they’ll expand into other locations.
If you can’t get your hands on Our Harvest goods anytime soon, you can recreate the experience with the tostada recipe listed below. Feel free to improvise, to omit, or to pile on anything else that strikes your fancy.
- 6 corn tortillas
- ½ small black radish, peeled and thinly-sliced
- 1-2 small purple turnips, peeled and thinly-sliced
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 1 small beet, peeled and halved
- 2 tuna steaks, approximately 1/3 lb each
- ¼ cup of shiso dressing
- 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 garlic cloves
- Freshly-ground pepper to taste
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon wasabi powder
- 1 teaspoon of mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons Japanese 7-spice
- 2 tablespoons of thinly-sliced dandelion greens
- On a grill pan on medium heat, toast the corn tortillas, for a minute or two per side, until crispy. Set aside.
- To make the pickled root vegetables, add the white roots to a pint-sized mason jar; add the sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, and the beet halves, then cover with rice vinegar. Cover the jar with the lid and give it a good shake (this will release some of the coloring from the beet). Leave the vegetables to pickle while you assemble the other ingredients.
- To make the tuna, marinate two 1/3 lb tuna steaks in shiso dressing for 30 mins at room temp. I used Momo non-oil shiso dressing, but in a pinch, you could a mix of honey, vegetable oil and a touch of Dijon mustard.
- While the tuna is marinating, make the white bean puree but putting the white beans, garlic, ½ teaspoon of salt and freshly-ground pepper and olive oil into a small food processor and pureeing.
- To make the wasabi sauce—mix the wasabi powder with 2 teaspoons of warm water, and let it bloom for a few minutes. Then add the mayonnaise and blend to incorporate.
- When you’re ready to cook the tuna, place the Japanese 7-spice in an even layer on a plate and season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Dredge the tuna in the 7-spice, coating each side of the tuna steaks evenly.
- Heat a grill pan on medium high and sear each side of the tuna steaks (about 1 minute per side); let it rest while you toast the tortillas.
- To assemble the tostadas, layer the tortillas with a generous dollop of white bean puree, sliced tuna, sliced radishes, pickled roots, wasabi sauce, and the sliced dandelion greens.