Trial by fire

New trends in cooking tuna are literally going hot, from ashes to torching.

“Ashes from burnt food, wood, or hay are being put on food (and food is being cooked directly in hot ashes) at upscale restaurants around the country, but this trend is not some last-ditch attempt to salvage burnt food,” writes Roxanne Webber for Chow.

The technique, an old tradition from Native American and Scandinavian cultures, adds a bitter and smoky flavor, Webber reports. And cooking with ashes is catching on – well, like fire – in restaurants throughout the Northwest, including Castagna in Portland, Oregon.

No, we’re not kidding you – this is not another episode of Portlandia.

A fantastic site for traditional native recipes can be found at NativeTech, including Fire Baked Fish and Fire Baked Trail Fish. The site warns: ” We’re not responsible for any unpredicted results of these recipes! *smile.”  We love unpredictable. Other sites mixing corn and ashes include The Three Sisters and Taste of Home.

Another food critic lists torched albacore among her favorites. Michelle Buttelman reviewed Mixers in Santa Clarita Valley and “the thoughtful menu of Chef Adam Bokal,” and wrote:

Three dishes in particular haunt my dreams…. at the top of my list is the torched Albacore tuna ($26) made with sashimi grade albacore seasoned and lightly torched with an open flame. Make sure you eat the dish as it was meant to be tasted, combing a bit of the tuna with the Peruvian purple potato and the braised leeks and the Yuzu vinaigrette.”

Chef Bokal also recommends the torched albacore.…  And if you’re intimidated by cooking with torch or ashes, there’s always St Jude smoked albacore.

Photo courtesy of Guillaume Blanchard and Wikimedia Commons

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