Usually I verge away from writing lengthy recipe titles under the premise that lengthy titles = lengthy recipes; within recipes. Last week in the New York Times Dining In section there was an article about recipe deal breakers- and for me long recipes within recipes within recipes = turn the page and find another recipe. It’s not that I don’t like eating complex food or spending time over a recipe it’s that I don’t have the patience time to cook complex food. Having said that, there are so many great elements in these bite-sized beauties that it was a painstaking decision to not just go ahead and list everything involved in their making. But rest-assure these do not involve time-staking labour nor multiple bowls to wash-up in the sink- oh ye of little faith.
I made these at the charity cocktail party that I catered for United Way back in April (or was it March?) where they were gobbled up with such ferocity that I simply couldn’t keep up to speed in assembling them. The rapid flow of cocktail samples from the mixologist certainly did not aid my dexterity- and could arguably be the reason why the guests sought out the food so voraciously. And neither did it help that the party was supposed to take place across two apartments- one of which was a five minute cross-building, through the laundry room, elevator hop away from the other. Details that in hindsight I should have inquired about prior to the party. In any case, I soon rectified the problem- but only after the guests had become decidedly quite tiddled.
This was, however, a relatively simple situation to fix compared to other parties that I’ve catered for. Take, say the party where I forgot to load the car with all of my serving plates, and had to scramble in the clients cupboards to find platters. Or the party where I arrived at the clients house only to be told that her oven was broken and that I would have to use the neighbour’s- through the garden, two doors down. Or even worse the one where the client assumed that I was providing a wine waiter and I was bellowed at for having not provided one when the guests where twenty minutes away. This was also the day when I came to appreciate that Don really was my knight in shining armour- dashing out of a meeting, darting into Next to purchase black shoes and a white shirt he leapt into a cab and to my distraught rescue. He was the most hospitable management conultant wine waiter there ever was. There is never a dull moment when I cater- or rather should I say: there are enough stressful possibilities that await catering a party so the food shouldn’t be one of them. Plan accordingly.
Marinated tuna with avocado on black sesame crackers
These canapés are easy, easy, easy and although tuna is expensive, it stretches a long way when sliced thin. The crackers photographed are a touch big but look for ones that are roughly 2.5 cm/1 inch across- the idea is you can eat this whole thing in one bite.
Difficulty: Finely chopping chili and remembering not to touch your face
Diet Facts: Gluten-free if you buy gluten-free crackers, super healthy
200g/8 oz tuna, preferably sushi grade
1 green chili (such as jalepeño), seeded and finely chopped
1/2 red onion or 3 scallions, finely chopped
2 limes, juiced
2 tbsp total chopped coriander and mint
extra virgin olive oil
1 ripe but still firm avocado
12 black sesame seed rice crackers (or others)
1 tbsp black sesame seeds (or toasted sesame seeds), to serve (optional)
1. Using a very sharp knife slice the tuna thinly into 12 roughly even pieces. If you’re finding it difficult to slice then wrap in cling film and freeze for up to 1 hour so that it firms up. But it really doesn’t matter if they are different shapes. Mix the tuna with the chili, onion, lime juice, coriander/mint and 1 tbsp of olive oil. Season.
2. Chill for up to 1 hour or serve immediately. Please note that the lime juice essentially cooks the tuna and it will turn a slightly pale colour the longer that it sits.
3. When ready to serve prepare the avocado. Cut in half around the seed. Remove the seed and keeping the flesh in the skin cut each half into quarters. Now thinly slice width-ways and carefully remove the flesh by peeling away the skin. Squeeze over a little lime juice to prevent discolouration.
4. To serve place a couple of slices of avocado on top of each sesame cracker top with a slice of tuna, twisted to give some height. Drizzle with a little of the marinade and or olive oil and garnish with a sprinkling of black sesame seeds.