When I go out to eat, I often have When Harry Met Sally moments.
Let me clarify.
I scrutinize what the waiters serve to other patrons as they saunter past my table. And sometimes, without even having an idea of what is on the plate, I will simply say, “I’ll have what she’s having.”
The last time I tried that technique was when I saw this glorious tower of crab + rice + tuna + avocado in a saucy puddle, sprinkled with sesame seeds. When it came time to take my order, the Tower of Seafood my heart yearned for was no more. Much to my chagrin, they sold the last one before I could order.
It was then a Wolf of Wall Street moment. I set a cursing record, albeit in a whisper and at the dinner table + the car + and at home. And then some more the following morning.
Well, no one puts Baby in the corner. I was determined to have a d@mn seafood tower! I Googled Seafood Tower, and (in 0.65 seconds) I received 87,600,000 results for 6 foot tall, 8 -tier, 750-pound displays of seafood.
Not even Brad Pitt in any.given.movie could eat that much.
So I refined my search + my ingredient choices + and practiced my stacking technique to bring you the
only finest Easy Spicy Ahi (+ Ebi) Stacks I have ever made. I have pretty much absolutely worked out the flavor + color + stacking kinks. Have no fear. Your experience (in contrast to mine) should be a breeze!
Easy Spicy Ahi (+ Ebi) Stacks are layers of fresh tuna + avocado + sushi rice + lots of flavorful drizzles topped with bright pink ebi. The layers are swoon-worthy, but the sauces are sublime. No joke. They may change your life. (Shout-out to Leslie at florafoodie. She deserves ALL SAUCE credits.)
Start by making the sauces: a sriracha-ponzu marinade, a spicy mayo, and a simple unagi sauce. Why 3 sauces? Because they bring a myriad of flavors to your stack.
- sriracha-ponzu sauce is savory + garlicky + hot-ish
- spicy mayo is fruity + piquant + creamy
- unagi sauce is dark + rich + salty + caramelly. A sushi chef once told me that good unagi (eel) sauce is worth its weight in gold. He said if the restaurant were to catch on fire, the first thing he would grab would be the unagi sauce. True story.
Decide on your layers: You can add any layers you are jonesing for: tuna, crab, scallops, avocado, rice, tomatoes, onion, watercress, cucumber, mango…you are the sculptor. Spray a ramekin or measuring cup with cooking spray and fill it, layer by layer, with whatever you want in your stack.
For example, in the photo you will see a sole ebi (shrimp) atop my tower. I prepared it sushi-style because I like learning new things. If you want to make sushi-style ebi, check out Brian Sekine’s enlightening tutorial. Otherwise, skip it. If you want shrimp instead of tuna in your stacks, boil ½ pound fresh or completely thawed shrimp in their shells (for flavor), peel them, chop them, and mix them (or not!) with the spicy mayo for another gorgeous layer. Do the same if you would rather use crab: layer 6-8 ounces jumbo lump crab meat, either mixed with spicy mayo or not.
Enough of all this bluster. Let’s get to stacking!
If you make Easy Spicy Ahi (+ Ebi) Stacks, I’d love to hear about it! Leave comments below and tag #nakedepicurean on Instagram so we can celebrate together!
Easy Spicy Ahi (+ Ebi) Stack for 2
*for the sriracha-ponzu marinade + sauce:
- ¼ cup sriracha
- ¼ cup toasted sesame oil
- ½ cup ponzu sauce
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped (add to marinade only)
Combine first 3 ingredients, then divide in half. Add the garlic and tuna steak to the marinade and allow to sit for about 2 hours, flipping halfway to make sure the tuna is evenly coated.
*for the spicy mayo
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon sriracha
Mix ingredients until well-blended.
*for the unagi (eel sauce)
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup mirin
- ¼ cup sugar
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer until it reduces into about one third of its original volume. Set aside and allow to cool.
*for the stacks
- ½ pound sashimi grade ahi tuna steak
- 1 avocado, sliced (wait until the last minute to slice in order to retain color)
- 1½ cup cooked sushi rice
- scallions and black sesame seeds for garnish
Chop tuna into small chunks. Toss with remaining sriracha-ponzu sauce. Spray an 8-ounce measuring cup with cooking spray. Pack half of the tuna into the bottom of the cup. Follow with avocado, then rice. Rice may mound above the top of the cup; just make sure that it’s fairly flat. Invert the measuring cup on a plate and gently remove it (sometimes patting the cup will help). Spoon sauces over the stack. Or…if you are feeling fancy like Chef Kate in No Reservations, put the spicy mayo and unagi sauce each in a separate plastic bag and cut off a tiny corner. Drizzle each sauce over the tower and the plate. Garnish with chopped scallions + black sesame seeds.