Plumbing the Depths of the Sesame Crusted Sublime

A week or so ago, when we had a span of delightful warm weather, a number of truly wonderful things happened. My wonderful friend S. drove us to Lowe’s where we bought lumber to create garden plots, my wonderful husband N. built us said garden plots, and I spent about two wonderful hours too long in the early Spring sun getting my neck, chest, and arms burned while I introduced young plants to their new homes. The upshot of these two glorious afternoons was the creation of a vegetable and herb garden. The backlash was the toasted skin.

Oddly inspired by the fire burning my skin from within, and not wanting anything involving the oven for dinner, I set about morphing together two recipes: my mom’s friend Jen’s Chinese Chicken Salad with a really delicious seared ahi salad I had at Henry’s 12th Street Tavern ( for my 1 year wedding anniversary.

Taking my own toasting into account, I dredged a beautiful hunk of sushi grade ahi in sesame seeds. I seared it lightly on all sides so that the sesame seeds were nutty smelling and golden on the outside and the tuna had layers of doneness culminating in a glorious rare center. I mounded up a mixture of savoy cabbage, chives, and (I know, so gauche but so good) crumbled ramen noodles in our salad bowls, and topped it with thin slices of tuna, mango, and avocado, then crowned the whole thing with some deep fried won ton strips.

It was perfect. The tangy acidity of the mango cut through the buttery richness of the avocado and the achingly, meltingly perfect tuna center. The perfect bite was all three heavy hitters on one forkful, followed by a crunchy bite of won ton to change up the texture and cleanse the palate. I won’t lie; the cabbage salad was really just there for looks. And to pretend we were getting our full serving of vegetables. We really just wanted this tropical take on sashimi. Now, with my sunburn a fading memory, clouds back in the skies, and rain on the way, I can only remind you of that shiny glimpse of springtime:


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