The coastal albacore tuna fishery is now in full swing with anglers reeling in these tasty late-summer offshore fish.
This week, Yasuhiro “Yasu” Kusano, a chef at Shiro’s Sushi in Belltown, offers a delightful seared albacore tuna recipe.
Kusano was born in Fukushima in Japan, where his parents owned a small fish store. When he was a young boy, his father took him to an upscale authentic Japanese restaurant, and after that experience he decided to become a chef.
His first cooking job in 2000 was at the landmark Gonpachi Restaurant, a Japanese Izakaya, in Tokyo, Japan. In 2007, Kusano moved to the United States for a sous chef position at Gonpachi in Beverly Hills, Calif., and one year later became their executive chef.
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In 2013, he moved to Seattle to join I Love Sushi in Bellevue, before heading to Shiro’s Sushi in 2014.
Late-summer is primetime for tuna fishing
The albacore tuna fishery off the coast has kicked into high gear, and successful tuna anglers are finding the migratory fish anywhere from 35 to 50 miles offshore of Ilwaco and Westport.
For albacore tuna the most abundant time is during August and September. Ilwaco and Westport charter boats journey out on one or two- to three-day trips to pursue these fish. Tuna catches have averaged anywhere from five per rod to as high as 15 or 25.
Tuna are caught on jigs and live anchovy bait. There is no daily catch limit for tuna.
1 pound of albacore tuna
1 teaspoon of salt
Handful of straw (Note: You can buy small amount of straws at the pet shop. If smoking is a little too much, skip this part. Sear all sides of tuna over open flame or make the frying pan very hot and pan sear all sides. You will be missing the smoke aroma and flavor but it will still be delicious.)
Half an onion
1/2 pack of Kaiware (daikon “radish” sprouts)
Small amount of fresh ginger to taste
2 ounces of Ponzu sauce (a citrus based sauce that can be purchased at most Asian grocery stores)
Aluminum foil to make a bed
Sprinkle salt over the albacore tuna. Sear all surfaces of the tuna over the gas stove or by the blow torch.
Spread the straw in the frying pan, place an aluminum foil in the middle, and place the tuna in the middle of the foil. Heat the pan on high. When the pan starts smoking, cover with a lid on and smoke the tuna for one minute. Take it out from the pan and let it cool.
Cut an onion vertically in half and slice very thinly. Leave onion and kaiware in cold water for about 10 minutes, and drain excess water. Peel and slice fresh ginger, then julienne.
Slice the tuna about 1/4 inch thickn and arrange them on a plate. Sprinkle ginger over the tuna. Arrange onion and kaiware on the same plate.
Pour Ponzu sauce over.
(Serves four as appetizer – To make it an entrée for four people, simply double the tuna and ponzu sauce. Onion, kaiware and ginger are garnishes so the amounts can stay the same, unless more is preferred.)
This season, esteemed local chefs will share recipes and advice on how to cook a wide variety of local seafood weekly through October.
This year’s Pacific Northwest all-star lineup of chefs include Tom Douglas, owner of Lola, Palace Kitchen, Dahlia Lounge, among others; Taylor Hoang, chef and owner of Pho Cyclo Cafes and Rickshaw Chef in Seattle; chef Shota Nakajima, owner of Naka; executive chef Sarah Scott of El Gaucho in Bellevue, executive chef Wesley Hood of AQUA by El Gaucho along with other chefs from El Gaucho and The Inn at El Gaucho; Megan Coombes chef and general manager of Altstadt in Seattle’s Pioneer Square; chef Pat Donahue of Anthony’s Restaurants; chef Maximillian Petty owner of Eden Hill on Queen Anne; Jason Wilson, executive chef/partner of Miller’s Guild at the Hotel Max and executive chef of Coffee Flour in Seattle; chef Taichi Kitamura, owner of Sushi Kappo Tamura on Eastlake in Seattle; and executive chef Jason Brzozowy for Tilth owned by Maria Hines.
Recipes will be posted every Wednesday and/or Thursday through Nov. 2. Also, if you have a recipe you’d like to reel-in my way, please let me know and I will post them, and will even test it out with my family and friends.