Would you believe me if I told you that everything on the plate pictured above was freshly caught or grown in and off the coast of NJ? From the tuna to the rice, this dinner is 100% Jersey delicious.
Growing up, I earned the nickname Sammy The Seal at the age of 3, thanks to my ability to slurp down sushi like it was nobody’s business. As my commitment to seasonal, sustainable, local eats strengthened, it became hard for me to find sushi restaurants committed to this way of preparing food. So, when I get a hankering for sushi now, I whip up a deconstructed sushi rice bowl or poke bowl with sustainably sourced fish, and it cures all my cravings.
Blue Moon Acres’ sushi rice is a constant staple in my household, but not just for this dish. I use it whenever white rice is called for (except for risotto) in some of my favorite dishes, like chicken and rice or any sort of rice casserole! I love that it cooks up in less than 20 minutes, has a great chewy texture, but can also achieve a silky smooth creaminess to it when I need it to. It’s a versatile pantry item, and I am constantly switching between the sushi rice and their Black & Tan rice when I need something with a little more grain separation for dishes like rice salads and pilafs.
And this beautiful bluefin tuna came from a friend that goes fishing 80 miles off the coast all summer long. It doesn’t get fresher tasting than this! When the tuna is this good, you really don’t want to cook it, marinade it for too long, or overpower it with strong sauces and marinades. Let the silky smooth fish shine with a light, vibrant dressing.
And while you likely won’t find NJ-caught bluefin at your local supermarket, you can get a similar quality from Local 130 Seafood in Asbury Park, which has a network of fishermen that catch tuna and a variety of local fish. You can read all about the incredible work they’re doing here.
With all of this in mind, I am challenging you to start looking differently at what sustainable, seasonal, and local means to you. New Jersey grown rice didn’t exist 10 years ago. Local fresh seafood wasn’t easily accessible, unless you knew a fisherman who would bring it home for you. And I’m pretty sure you weren’t eating tatsoi 10 years ago either – the variety of greens and vegetables that have gained popularity over the last decade is so inspiring for adventurous home cooks! It’s getting easier and easier here in the Garden State and beyond to create meals that are 70, 80, 90% local. Head to your farmers market and see what new vendors are popping up this weekend!
Tuna Sushi Rice Bowl with Tatsoi
8oz bluefin tuna
1 small bundle of tatsoi (baby bok choy)
2 scallions, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp. oil
½ cup sushi rice
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. ponzu sauce
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Optional: Rice seasoning
Rinse sushi rice thoroughly and pour in a small saucepan with about 1 cup of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer, stir, lower heat and put the lid on the saucepan. Cook for about 15 minutes, then turn off and let steam for 5 minutes.
While rice is cooking, heat oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic and scallions, let cook for one minute. Add tatsoi and mix to coat evenly in the oil. Let green cook for 3-5 minutes until wilted.
With a very sharp knife, slice your tuna and then dice into small cubes. I prefer to err on the smaller side. Take the fish and put it in your dressing, but don’t let it marinade. Get ready to plate your bowl immediately: spread rice evenly, and with some tongs, place the sautéed tatsoi around the rice. Top with your fish and rice seasoning.