Here is a little starter I did last night for a dinner with Dan Aykroyd and his wife Donna Dixon who really enjoyed the evening.  This was a great summer dish that was light and refreshing.  A great way to start of the dinner especially with all the fresh ingredients.  I love spending time in L.A. in the summer time with and going to the Santa Monica Farmers Market  which has to be one of the best in country. You are bound to see famous chef's or celebrities shopping for the freshest ingredients.  The variety and list of ingredients is almost overwhelming.  I went yesterday and their is so much to choose from like Porcini mushrooms to borage to lemon Verbena, to all the fresh fruit peaches and nectarines, all the cherries; it really is beautiful to see and taste.   I end up buying almost a little of everything and come back and try to figure out what to make.  Sometimes it is an overload of ingredients and ideas of what to do with them.  This dish I tried to keep simple and light.  Here is the recipe and I hope you enjoy it.

1lb of hamachi (sushi grade Yellowtail)

1 tbsp of cherry shaved wood chips

1 tbsp of oak shaved wood chips

4 tbsp of minced Chinese or baby celery

1 tsp of Sansho pepper

1 tbsp of Furikake Rice Seasoning (bonito and Sesame) 

1-2 tbsp of tamari 

1/2 tsp of salt

1 tsp of sesame oil


1 cucumber juiced

1 bunch of celery juiced 

1 tbsp of rice wine vinegar 

2 sprigs of lemon verbena 

1 tsp of salt


3 Breakfast Radish sliced thin

Borage flowers

Broccoli flowers

Micro Cilantro 

Meyer Lemon oil 


For the Hamachi,

Take a medium large plastic zip lock bag and fill it with ice.  Set up your stove top smoker by place the wood chips in the bottom of the pan.   Turn the heat on until the wood shavings start to smoke.  Then place the rack and tray on top of the wood chips.  Put the ice bag down on the tray and place the Hamachi on top of the ice bag.  Place the cover on top or with foil and let the fish smoke for 1 minute on low heat and then turn off the heat and let the fish absorb the smoke for the next 20 minutes with no heat.  The ice helps insure that the fish won't cook.  What your doing is adding a very subtle smoke flavor to the fish.   After the fish has absorbed all the smoke take the fish out and place back in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.  Take out the hamachi and small dice the fish and place in it a bowl.  Add the minced chinese celery, the Furikake, Sansho, tamari, sesame oil, and salt to the fish.  Mix well with a spoon and adjust seasoning if needed.  Set aside in the refrigerator.  

Then take a cucumber and celery and juice through a vegetable juice.  Season with rice wine vinegar and salt.  Add the verbena to the juice to add a little subtle flavor.   Set aside in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.  

To finish,

in a medium size round cookie cutter add the hamachi tartar to the ring and press down to hold its shape.  Then take sliced radish and place on top.  Pour a title of the cucumber-celery juice into the bottom of the bowl.  Garnish with flowers, and micro cilantro, finish with a drizzle of Meyer lemon oil.  Serve and enjoy!