Sorry for the late update! I fell down the rabbit hole recently getting lost in Italy. I spent a month travelling around Europe, but spent most of the time in Italy, getting lost in the streets of the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum. It’s a beautiful city and I highly recommend it – just make sure you don’t bring your car. I grew up in NYC and driving in Italy is literally yikes! Our tour guide in Capri told us that one of the roads is called the “Mamma Mia” road – when you look at the views from the top, you’ll say “Mamma Mia!” but when you’re travelling up the steep, narrow roads that hover just over the precipice of a cliff, you’ll be shouting, “Mamma Mia!” for a whole different reason!
When we flew into NYC, I had to stop at one of my childhood favorite places while we were in the area – the Roosevelt Field Mall. I have a lot of fond memories of sitting in the food court with my mom while we ate and chatted before we eventually headed over Hot Topic so she could show her visible disdain for my clothing choices.
Awesome band tee shirts aside, I was surprised to see that the food court inside had been completely renovated. I haven’t been there in a few years, and so it was amazing to see all of the different food options they’ve added, mainly a lot of Chinese, Japanese and Thai. There was also a vegan restaurant that made fried guacamole balls. They gave them to us as a sample to try but considering they had gluten, I gave it to my husband to try and he said they were delicious!
But next to that spot is where we found a place called Island Poke. We had been wandering around sampling the froyo we’ll never get the chance to eat again (Pinkberry’s Green Tea Macha Lemonade Froyo will not be forgotten soon). We were looking for something filling, but also light and refreshing, so this seemed to fit the bill.
We ordered a mix of kale and zucchini noodles with ahi tuna and salmon, and then, much like the Subway I used to enjoy with my mom, asked for every topping available to us: carrots, radishes, seaweed salad, crab, masago, edamame…the works! They had a variety of sauces to choose from, but we chose ginger and scallion. They mixed it all up and then we topped it with crushed nuts and crunchy nori.
It was the most delicious thing I can remember eating (and I had just left Italy!) Though, to be fair, Italian food doesn’t really appeal to me all that much. We never had antipasti the entire time we were there and we only were able to find gluten free pizza three or four times since most of our travels were done away from the tourist sector. (My husband did cook a fresh-caught octopus for us, that’ll have to be for another post!)
It was so good, we got another one to eat that night, and then we picked up another two to eat for lunch, and then dinner again. It was only about ten dollars per bowl, and considering a lot of food like masago is hard to find, it’s well worth it considering the convenience of having all of the materials in one place.
But we couldn’t stay there forever, and so we quickly devised a plan to make Poke at home with food that we had on hand and already accessible to us. We did go to two Asian markets in search of masago, but it’s really hard to find!
So without further ado, here’s our Poke interpretation. There will probably be many other variations that I’ll share later, but this is the one we made first.
-1 lb raw fresh salmon, cubed 1″
-1 large cucumber, thinly sliced
-1 large jalapeno, sliced
-5-10 stalks’ worth of cilantro leaves, plucked
-3-4 stalks scallions, chopped
-2-3 celery, chopped (optional)
-1/4 cup cooked edamame (optional)
-4 cups cooked rice
-1 lb spiralized daikon radish, steamed or raw
(Can also substitute with Kale, Miracle Noodles, Zucchini noodles, etc.)
Ginger Scallion Sauce Ingredients
-2 oz peeled ginger root
-1 medium jalapeno, seeds removed
-5-7 stalks scallions
-3 stalks’ worth cilantro leaves
-1 tsp sesame oil
-salt to taste
-sugar to taste (optional)
Salmon Marinade Ingredients
-2 tbsp rice vinegar
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp sugar (optional)
-1 tbsp chili sambal (optional, for heat)
Total prep time: 20 mins plus 1 hour salmon ceviche time
- In a medium-large bowl, mix the cubed salmon with the marinade ingredients.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate for one hour. This will acid-cook the fish, known as ceviche. This is required if you don’t have access to sushi-grade fish that is safe to eat raw.
- After one hour, pour off the marinade liquid and rinse once to prevent overcooking the salmon.
- To make the sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. It’s VERY important to remove the seeds from the jalapeno, as the spice in them interacts with the ginger in a way that will make it unpleasantly spicy.
- Layer the bowl with noodles/rice/kale, then add the vegetables on top. Add a few pieces of salmon with the sauce. Serve garnished with seaweed shreds, nuts, or whatever works for you! Enjoy!
And if you’re curious to see the delicious Island Poke that I was raving about earlier, of course I took a pic! Mall food never tasted so good!