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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 12:19 p.m., Thursday, January 25, 2007

Alan Wong creates "Top Chef"-inspired poke

By Wanda Adams
Advertiser Staff Writer

The recipe that got contestant Elia Aboumrad bumped off the semi-finals of the Bravo reality show "Top Chef" Wednesday night inspired celebrity judge Alan Wong to make a similar version for a reception screening the episode.

On the show, judges other than Wong criticised Aboumrad's Mediterranen-influenced poke with sundried tomatoes, capers, lemon confit and tuna water for not being Hawaiian enough.

While agreeing that the dish didn't scream Hawai'i, Wong told The Advertiser, "I thought it was very creative, and I enjoyed all the flavors. Being in Hawai'i, you eat all kinds of poke, and this was so different and refreshing. When I ate it, I bit into the preserved lemon and I automatically thought that if I made this, I would use lemon peel crack seed instead." So he put his own version of the poke together.

Wong also added shiso, as an ingredient he likes with 'ahi.

Wong doesn't work with measurements when he's inventing new recipes, so he couldn't provide specifics when The Advertiser requested the formula. However, poke is a pretty free-form dish anyway. Just compose this to suit your tastes. And if you don't happen to have any shiso furikake or shiso buds sitting around (Wong gets them from Nalo Farms, and the Marukai membership store is a good place to shop for those ingredients), leave it out.

The finale of "Top Chef" airs on Bravo next Wednesday at 8 p.m., naming a single chef who excels at a contest that ends on the Big Island of Hawai'i. Get more information on the show, including recipes from the chefs' lu'au, at www.bravotv.com.

Alan Wong's Medit-awaiian Poke

Cubed 'ahi

Lemon segments, cut into tiny pieces

Lemon rind, grated

Wet lemon peel, diced (crack seed kind)

Hamakua Springs tomatoes, diced

Shallots, sliced

Capers, rinsed and drained

Shallots, diced and cook in port wine, red wine and shoyu

Avocado cubes

Soy mustard (mustard powder with shoyu)

Yukari (shiso leaf ume furikake)

Red chili flakes

Minced anchovies

Shiso leaves, torn (perilla or beefsteak plant)

Shiso buds

Place 'ahi in a bowl and dress with other ingredients; tasting and correcting seasonings as desired.