Beet Poke

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Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 65 minutes
Servings: 6 to 8

This colorful dish illustrates Chef Ed Kenney’s focus on sustainability at his Hawaiian restaurants. The tuna that’s traditionally used for poke, an iconic dish on the islands, is being overfished, so this version showcases fresh beets. At the restaurant, the beets are cooked “lawalu style,” a Hawaiian technique that involves burying the food in the dying embers of a fire, but roasting them in the oven works just as well. You can also streamline prep by using fresh seaweed instead of pickled, though the pickled version definitely adds a special something to the dish. Several types of seaweed, both fresh and dried, are found at Japanese grocery stores and some health food stores.

Ingredients:

  • For the pickled seaweed:
  • 3/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) limu (fresh seaweed) or rehydrated hijiki or wakame
  • Sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) water
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) sugar


For the roasted beets:

  • 4 tennis-ball-size beets, preferably a mixture of colors, trimmed
  • 1-inch (2.5-cm) piece fresh ginger, smashed
  • 1 orange
  • Olive oil as needed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


For the mashed wasabi avocado:

  • 1 tsp. wasabi powder
  • 1 tsp. warm water
  • 1 avocado, halved and pitted
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


For the assembly:

  • 2 Tbs. coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) thinly shaved sweet onion, such as Vidalia or Walla Walla
  • 1 Tbs. Asian sesame oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Chioggia or golden beet, peeled, thinly shaved, and placed in ice water to crisp
  • 1/4 cup (3/4 oz./20 g) thinly sliced green onion tops

Directions:

To make the pickled seaweed, thoroughly rinse the seaweed and drain well. Toss the seaweed with sea salt, place in a colander and let drain for 1 hour. Meanwhile, in a saucepan over high heat, combine the vinegar, water, sugar and 1 Tbs. sea salt and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let the brine cool for 5 minutes. Transfer the seaweed to a bowl and pour in the brine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 1 week.

To make the roasted beets, preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C).

Place the beets and ginger in a baking dish. Cut the orange in half and squeeze the juice over the beets, then add the orange halves to the dish. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover the dish with aluminum foil. Roast until a knife can be inserted into the beets without much resistance, about 1 hour; don’t allow the beets to become too soft. Discard the ginger and orange halves. Let the beets cool, then peel and cut into 1/2- to 1-inch (12-mm to 2.5-cm) wedges.

To make the mashed wasabi avocado, in a small bowl, stir together the wasabi powder and warm water until a thin paste forms. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand about 10 minutes. Scoop the avocado flesh into a medium bowl and mash with a fork until fairly smooth. Add the wasabi paste and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble the dish.

To assemble the dish, drain the seaweed. In a large bowl, combine the roasted beets, seaweed, macadamia nuts, sweet onion and sesame oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Spread a dollop of the wasabi avocado on each individual plate and spoon the beet poke on top of it. Garnish each serving with a few slices of shaved raw beet and a sprinkling of the green onions. Serves 6 to 8.

Adapted from a recipe by Ed Kenney of Mahina & Sun’s, Waikiki, Hawaii

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