I just had an ama~zing weekend! I’ve spent a good part of 3 days in the kitchen on a wicked inspiration-rush and emerged victorious, 5 new and absolutely delicious recipe hammered out for you guys – and that’s not even the really amazing part of it! Hubby and I had a long-overdue sit-down with our trusted travel agent this Saturday and booked our vacations for the year! Aaaand four days later, I’m still yay’ing in my head… an end to the joyous rush appears to be nowhere in sight.
So, embracing the travel-bug induced wave of anticipation, I decided to share two yummies with you guys this week, both of them inspired by our most recent trips across Europe. Today I’ll be taking you, once more, to the wonderful island of Madeira – which is, in fact, our desitination for our long summer vacation this year again~! As I’ve mentioned in my my previous Madeira-inspired recipes, the Chestnut-Stuffed Duck and Sour Cherry Chutney and my Nougat Mousse with Madeira-Cherry Compote, you can’t swing a cat over there without hitting a passionfruit – or Maracujá to the locals – vine or shrub. So, mentally preparing for our plane to take off – does September always seem to be that far away? – and defying the unseasonably warm and just plain weird February outside, I decided to summon up an early summer onto our plates with a bunch of these pretties. During our last trip to Madeira, madly in love with both passionfruits and the delicious tuna roaming the deep waters around the island, I made a mental note to get down to business with the two of them once I got back home. When I followed up on that train of thought in my kitchen, I realized that, love of passionfruit notwithstanding, there’s a limit to them in a dish like this, at some point they just take over and smother everything else. So, trying to turn a tantalizing spoonful into a dish capable of posing as a real starter, I had to skirt around that point and embed both ingredients in a whole new context, add something new to compliment and support both at the same time… This is what I came up with in the end~
Just a word of “warning” in advance. While the name and look of the dish may indicate a lot of work and fiddly kitchen-action, the reality of it is… it’s one of the simplest things to wow your dinner crowd with~! The only thing you need to worry about – as always with simple dishes with a magnifying glass on the individual product – is the quality of your ingredients. Make sure all of them are top-shelf, fresh and ripe, otherwise one of the components will topple the balance of the whole dish. Oh, and just in case you’re opposed to tuna – raw or in general – this one works deliciously well with beef carpaccio as well~
The Spicy Avocado Cream
1 Ripe Hass Avocado
1 Lime, Juice and Zest – start with 1 Tsp of the juice and adjust the paste to your liking later
1 Tsp Light Soy Sauce
1 Pinch of Salt
1 Pinch of Chilli Flakes
1) Place all of the above in a food processor or a stick-blender friendly container and blitz everything into a silky-smooth paste.
2) Have a taste of the creamy result and tweak the seasoning a bit – the flavors will develop further during it’s resting time, so be careful with any additions at this point.
3) Transfer the mixture into a piping bag, seal it – to eliminate any and all chances the avocado might have to change color despite the lime juice – and place the bag in the fridge for 1 hour.
4) Go to the motions of another taste-and-adjust routine if you weren’t 100% satisfied with the seasoning during the first round – make a mental note of what’s missing and sprinkle the avocado cream once it’s on the spoon or bread round rather than trying to season it while it’s inside the bag.
The Passionfruit Sauce
2 Ripe Passionfruits, halved
1 Tsp of Brown Sugar
1) Scrape the passionfruit pulp out into a small pot and stir in the sugar.
2) Set the heat to medium and continuously stir until the sugar has dissolved.
3) Reduce the mixture by about ¼ into a thin syrup. You should end up with a bit more than 2 Tbsp of the syrup.
4) Strain the syrup through a fine sieve if you’d like to remove the seeds. The passionfruits I used were a bit on the dry side of things, so I simply fished out the seeds that couldn’t escape off of my spoon and kept the rest in order to have enough of the syrup in the end.
5) Move the syrup into a small bowl and set it aside to cool off entirely.
Assembling the Dish
12 Pumpernickel Rounds
Alt: 12 Serving-/Aperitif Spoons
120g Sashimi-grade Raw Tuna, thinly sliced into 12 about 2cm wide and 5cm long ribbons – if you’re lucky, your fishmonger will prepare the sashimi for you. If not, put your whetting stone or iron to work before approaching the tuna with your knife.
Alt: 120g Beef Carpaccio
12 pretty Coriander Leaves
1 small Spring Onion, very thinly sliced
1) Arrange the Pumpernickel rounds or serving spoons on a decorative platter or tray
2) Pipe similar-sized heaps of the avocado cream on top of them.
3) Gently roll up the tuna slices with the help of a chopstick and place them on their avocado beds in a decorative manner – now that’s the step I spent more time on than on any of the other ones…
4) Brush the bites with the passionfruit syrup.
5) Sprinkle a pinch of togarashi on each of the bites and decorate them with a coriander leaf and a thin spring onion ring just before serving.
By the way, sunday’s kitchen-trip will take you guys to Barcelona for something that started as a hot-summer-night snack~! Make sure to drop by again if you’re in the mood to shake off winter for a bit as well~