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Grilled Rare Albacore with Ocean Salad & Wonton Crisps


1-1 1/2 pounds loin of albacore tuna
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Madeira (or sherry)
1 tablespoon olive oil (or canola)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 cups ocean salad (see below)
optional: 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

canola oil for frying
24 wonton wrappers


Sashimi-grade albacore loins are flash frozen before they reach the market. These small loins, generally 16 to 18 inches long, are easy to handle on the grill. (When left very rare in the center, they slice beautifully into neat portions.) I like to serve the tuna on a mound of Ocean Salad. Made from several kinds of seaweed in a sesame dressing, Ocean Salad is sold in the seafood sections of Asian markets and some supermarkets. If Ocean Salad is unavailable, use shredded spinach tossed with a drizzle of sesame oil and a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds. The Crisps are made from fried wonton wrappers,available in most large supermarkets.

If the tuna is frozen, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator or thaw it still sealed in its packaging in a sink full of cold water for about 3 hours. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, Madeira, olive oil and sesame oil. Add the thawed albacore filet and roll the filet in themarinade to coat it evenly. Allow the fish to marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature or for several hours in the refrigerator. Preheat a gas or charcoal grill until the heat from the grill forces you to move your hand away when you hold it 5 inches above the grate (charcoal should be burned down to white-hot coals). Grill the marinated albacore on one side, without moving it, until the edges close to the grilling surface become opaque and dark brown marks are established underneath (about 3 minutes). Note: if you try to turn the fish too soon, it will stick to the grill and tear when you try to move it. Turn the albacore twice, grilling three sides of the loin and leaving the inside very rare (about 8 minutes in all). Take the loin off the heat and let it stand at room temperature while you make the crisps. (Or, if you prefer to grill the loin a day in advance, refrigerate until a half an hour before serving time.)

Line a baking sheet with a brown paper bag or with paper towels. Put enough oil in a small sauté pan to reach ½-inch up the sides of the pan. Warm the oil over medium-high heat until it is hot but not smoking, then fry the wonton wrappers one or two at a time in the hot oil, pressing them into the oil with a spatula or swishing the oil over the surface so that each one fries evenly. After the crisps are golden brown, drain them on the lined baking sheet. To assemble the appetizers, put a small mound (about a tablespoon) of Ocean Salad on top of each Crisp then top with a slice of the grilled albacore. Makes 2 dozen appetizers to serve 12.

This recipe courtesy of Greg Atkinson, Chef Proprietor of Restaurant Marché on Bainbridge Island.