I am sharing this post after reading The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine.
On the Page
Though I read this book from cover to cover versus putting it down in disgust, it was truly a cringe worthy psychological thriller. In the first half of the novel, we follow protagonist Amber Patterson as she sets her sights on stealing the life and husband of Daphne Parrish. The prize: Jackson Parrish, Daphne's successful and uber-rich husband. Amber is manipulative and conniving. But it's the second half of the novel that really makes your stomach turn. We get to see the situation from Daphne's perspective - how Daphne herself was scheming to get out of her marriage by dangling her replacement in front of her abusive, narcissistic spouse. Ugh.
On the Plate
Given that the story takes place within the moneyed set, there is a lot of food that shows that lavish lifestyle. One such passage: "He spooned a dollop of caviar onto a round cracker and held it to my mouth. 'Only the best for my girl. Get used to it.' To tell the truth, caviar and champagne were two of my least favorite things, but I supposed I needed to develop a taste for them. He took a long sip of champagne, and we sat there feeling the fresh air waft across our faces, mesmerized by the turquoise water before us. I leaned back and closed my eyes, listening to the sound of the water lapping against the pilings" (pg. 230).
There were also mentions of coq au vin, crab imperial, shrimp scampi and so much more. But it was one of the first lunches that Amber and Daphne have together that inspired me into the kitchen.
The waiter brought two tall glasses of iced tea and took their lunch order—a small salad for Daphne and ahi tuna for Amber. (pg. 38)
I decided to marinate ahi in a spicy marinade, sear it, then serve it with rice noodle bowls. Delish. Remember: since you're eating it (mostly) raw, you need to purchase sashimi grade ahi and you should eat it the same day you buy it.
serves 4 as an entree and 6 to 8 as an appetizer
2 pounds sashimi grade ahi tuna
1/3 cup organic tamari or gluten-free soy sauce + more for drizzling
2 Tablespoons sesame oil + more for drizzling
1/3 cup canola oil, divided in half
1 fresh jalapeno, thinly sliced on the bias
2 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
1 pinch red pepper chili flakes
1/3 cup sake
black sesame seeds for garnish
In medium mixing bowl, whisk together tamari, sesame oil, half of the canola oil. Stir in jalapeno slices, crushed garlic, chili flakes, and sake. Lay ahi steaks in the marinade for at least 5 minutes per side. Just before searing move the ahi to a plate and sprinkle with black sesame seeds. Press down lightly to adhere them to the fish.
In a large, flat-bottom pan, heat the remainder of the canola oil. When the oil is hot, place the ahi, seeded side down. Sear and sprinkle the top with more black sesame seeds and flip. I usually cook it for 30 seconds per side, but you can do it for longer if you prefer it cooked more. We like ours pretty rare.
Remove the ahi to a cutting board. To serve, slice your seared tuna across the grain at a slight diagonal. Slice into 1/4" thick pieces by pressing down on the fish and dragging in one, fluid stroke. Don't saw!
Place the slices on your serving plate. Drizzle slices with more soy sauce and more sesame oil. Serve immediately.