For me, this was without a doubt the toughest of the ten Project Food Blog challenges. You see, I’ve been travelling around Asia for over three weeks now, and while I managed to get challenges one through four scheduled before I left, FoodBuzz hadn’t posted the dish for challenge five before my departure.
Since Japanese kitchens don’t typically have ovens, I was vaguely concerned about a cake or bread showing up, but I figured I could always do a steamed cake or bun on the stove. I never anticipated pizza to show up as the dish upon which we needed to base our fifth entry. A steamed pizza didn’t sound very appetizing, and while I was able to find some pre-baked naan at a grocery store here, making an Indian-style pizza just didn’t seem like it was making good use of the locally available ingredients.
Thankfully, the prompt for the challenge had a very vague definition of pizza, listing the requirements as having a “solid base, a sauce and at least one topping”. The title of the challenge, “Recipe Remix” seemed to imply that we weren’t aiming for authenticity, so I decided to run with it and see if I could come up with a Japanese style pizza.
Watch the video below (shot on an iPod Touch) to see what my supermarket run yielded and get a peak at my hometown: Kadogawa, Japan.
My first attempt was a Japanese take on a Pizza Margherita. It turned out looking great, but heating the rice cracker in the fish grill, once it had wet ingredients on top, proved to be a bad idea. The crispy rice cracker to soaked up the liquid, giving it a stale texture in the middle.
In the end, I decided to go radically different, and borrowed the idea of putting sashimi on a pizza from my friend Akira Back from Yellowtail in Vegas. The crisp rice cracker make a perfect base for the citrusy mayo and red tuna. The shiso adds more freshness to the dish, and the kaiware daikon sprouts not only look pretty, but they add a bright peppery flavor.
Tuna Sashimi “Pizza”
4 very large salt flavored rice crackers (about 6″ in diameter)
4 ounces sashimi grade Ahi tuna slightly frozen
2 tablespoons Kewpie mayonaise
zest from 1 kabosu (or lime)
2 teaspoons kabosu juice (or lime juice)
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 green shiso leaves, cut into chiffonade
1 package kaiware daikon sprouts
Lightly toast the rice crackers so they are nice and crispy (be careful not to burn them).
Before you start assembling these, make sure you have all the toppings ready as they need to be eaten immediately after being assembled.
Slice the semi frozen tuna as thin as possible (think prosciutto thin).
Mix the mayonaise, kabosu zest and kabosu juice until combined. When all the ingredients are ready, use a pastry brush to paint on a thin layer of the citrus mayo on the rice cracker. Top with some tuna slices, then use a different pastry brush to apply a thin coating of olive oil. Top with some green shiso and kaiware daikon, then sprinkle on a pinch of sea salt.