I don’t eat top-of-the-food-chain fish very often although a recent dinner celebrating my husband’s birthday started with the Chef’s take on Tahitian Poisson Cru; the clean, sweet flavors of the ingredients (typically lime, coconut, cucumber, onion, tomato) and simple but elegant execution were especially memorable. Here is my twist on that, using Swordfish and Southeast Asian flavors. I enjoy experimenting with local ingredients and love the sweet flavor and unusually dry texture of pomelo, the large grapefruit-like citrus native to Southeast Asia. If pomelo is not available, you may substitute grapefruit. Traditional Poisson Cru leaves the center of the fish raw; here I allowed the citrus to “cook” the fish until completely opaque. Note: Pomelo has an especially thick and spongy rind or skin. The best way I've found to get to the fruit is to slice off the ends and carefully peel off the thick spongy pith. Once peeled, separate the fruit into segments and remove the membrane. To juice, simply squeeze the flesh (now rind/pith/membrane free) over a bowl. - gingerroot —gingerroot
Test Kitchen Notes
This is a dish that I once enjoyed a version of in French Tahiti so I was delighted to try this recipe. The lemon, lime and grapefruit cooks the fish into tender morsels. The sriracha adds a nice spicy interest and the coconut cream makes everything go together into a real recipe that combines spicy, sweet, and tangy together, starring the main ingredient... the swordfish. I like that this recipe is not just a sauce on top of the fish but everything is part of the recipe including the swordfish... it is not an afterthought that could be substituted with pasta or chicken or whatever. I could only find a pitiful pink grapefruit at this time of the year... but the recipe would work without it. I am not going to lose this recipe... it is wonderful! - dymnyno —The Editors
8-10 as a starter
1 1/4 lb. wild Shutome fillet (or other sustainably caught Swordfish), cut thinly into 1/4-inch thick squares
meyer lemon juice
small sweet onion, thinly sliced with a mandoline or sharp knife
coriander seeds, toasted and crushed (I used the back of a Tablespoon)
sriracha (chili-garlic sauce)
Scant 1 cup mixed cherry tomatoes, seeded and slivered
Scant 1 cup baby carrot ribbons (I used my vegetable peeler)
sugar (plus more to taste if using grapefruit)
pomelo flesh, pith and membrane removed, segments separated
coconut cream (be sure to shake can well before using, or alternatively, empty contents into a bowl, stir well and then add to fish mixture)
In This Recipe
Place fish pieces in a large non-reactive bowl. Add thinly sliced onion, pomelo juice, lime juice and lemon juice, making sure the fish is completely submerged in citrus juice. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least six hours (opaque except for the very center) or overnight (completely opaque) depending on your preference. When fish is “cooked” to your liking, carefully drain out all but a quarter cup or so of the citrus juice (in other words all the juice that is easily drained without dropping any fish in the sink).
Add toasted, crushed coriander seeds and sriracha to fish, stirring to combine. At this point, I was still many hours away from serving this dish so I re-covered the bowl with plastic wrap and returned it to the refrigerator to allow the flavors to develop.
When you are ready to serve, carefully fold in the slivered cherry tomatoes, carrot ribbons, salt, sugar and pomelo flesh. If using grapefruit, add more sugar to taste (in my experience, pomelo is a bit sweeter than grapefruit). Pour coconut cream over the mixture and stir to combine. Transfer Poisson Cru to serving bowl. You can place the serving bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice water to ensure it is chilled when eaten. Enjoy.
My most vivid childhood memories have to do with family and food. As a kid, I had the good fortune of having a mom who always encouraged trying new things, and two grandmothers who invited me into their kitchens at a young age. I enjoy cooking for the joy it brings me - sharing food with loved ones - and as a stress release. I turn to it equally during good times and bad. Now that I have two young children, I try to be conscientious about what we cook and eat. Right about the time I joined food52, I planted my first raised bed garden and joined a CSA; between the two I try to cook as sustainably and organically as I can. Although I'm usually cooking alone, my children are my favorite kitchen companions and I love cooking with them. I hope when they are grown they will look back fondly at our time spent in the kitchen, as they teach their loved ones about food-love.
Best of all, after years on the mainland for college and graduate school, I get to eat and cook and raise my children in my hometown of Honolulu, HI. When I'm not cooking, I am helping others grow their own organic food or teaching schoolchildren about art.