Houston’s moment: noun; a term used to convey extreme appreciation of food that has disappeared from your plate in a ridiculously quick manner.
A couple years ago, Andy and I went to lunch at Houston’s in San Francisco. It took only one glance at the menu to know what I was ordering: the seared ahi salad with mango vinaigrette. I am a huge fan of any and all things ahi. Chances are, if ahi is on the menu, that’s what I’m having.
My salad came and all my attention focused on it. The conversation came to a screeching halt (at least from my side). At one point, Andy asked me a question, but said I just looked blankly up at him, like I was in a daze and didn’t know where I was. Needless to say, I REALLY liked that salad. For the next several minutes, I concentrated only on powering it down, while savoring each wonderful bite. When I looked up again with an empty platte, Andy was staring at me with a mix of amazement, disbelief and maybe even a little pride (she says optimistically).
And the term “Houston’s moment” was born.
I figured this ahi dish with honey-wasabi glaze would have a fair shot at a Houston’s moment and I was right.
Seared Ahi with Honey Wasabi Glaze and Green Onion-Ginger Rice
1 ahi steak, about 5 ounces
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Lightly oil ahi, then press sesame seeds into all sides of the fish. Heat canola oil in a small nonstick pan (enough to cover the bottom) over very high heat. When pan is very hot, sear ahi on all sides, no more than 20 seconds per side. (Beware of popping sesame seeds.) Remove from heat and slice against the grain.
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon wasabi paste
splash of rice vinegar
Stir all ingredients together. Set aside.
1 cup cooked jasmine rice
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 – 1 teaspoon rice vinegar (to taste)
Combine all ingredients together just before serving.
To assemble: Plate rice and a few slices of ahi, then drizzle ahi with glaze.
With this glaze, you can very clearly taste the sweetness of honey and the punch of wasabi. But when mixed with the honey, the wasabi is not overpowering. It gives the ahi a big boost of flavor. The rice pairs nicely with the rest of the dish with complementing background flavors.
I did have a bit of a Houston’s moment with this dish. My plate was clean in a matter of seconds. And as I sheepishly looked at Andy out of the corner of my eye, I saw that he was indeed looking at me, then my plate in disbelief.
What can I say? I liked it…a lot.