Tuna Poke

Remember when you used to poke people on Facebook? That seems kind of strange now. Maybe 10 years from now, people will look back on Instagram or Snapchat and be all “What?!??!”.

Anyhoo, this isn’t a blog post about the Facebook type of poke. Nope, it’s poke as in pokē the Hawaiian verb for “section” or “to slice or cut” or “to cube”. Think of bright red jewel-like cubes of raw tuna in a subtle marinade of soy and sesame oil with just a hint of crunchy onion. Mmm, are you hungry now??!? And I should mention, it’s pronounced poh-kay (to rhyme with okay).Ahi tuna poke - sushi grade tuna in a light marinade of soy, sesame oil with scallions by MainelyEating.comLegend has it that Hawaiian fishermen would take the off-cuts of their daily catch, cube them, add a little seasoning and enjoy as a snack (what a job perk – tuna on demand!). Poke seasonings are heavily influenced by Japan (hence the soy and sesame) as well as the local Maui onions. Poke can be made with tuna, salmon and even cured octopus.

Right now, poke is THE food to eat and here are some reasons why. Just a few weeks ago I was in Ohio (of all places), checking out the best places to eat on yelp and I enjoyed the most unexpectedly-delicious bowl of tuna poke by Hai Poke at a pop-up location in the Short North area.

I’ve written before about the wonders of being able to buy sushi-grade tuna from Browne Trading Company and when I stopped by this weekend and saw the beautiful red tuna loin in the seafood counter, I figured I’d try making a poke-inspired dish at home.

Assuming you can get your hands on top quality fish, it couldn’t be easier! Mix up a marinade of soy sauce and sesame oil (Ponzu is my secret weapon for a non-authentic but delicious citrus twist), add the cubed tuna, a handful of scallions and a sprinkling of sesame seeds and you’re done! Add jalapeno, chili flakes or a little sriracha if you’re feeling spicy.

To make your poke into a more substantial lunch or dinner, make a poke bowl which strays into chirashi territory (chirashi means scattered in Japanese and so a chirashi bowl is basically a bowl of scattered/decontructed sushi).
Ahi tuna poke bowl with brown sprouted rice, seaweed salad, edamame and radish by MainelyEating.com

I started with brown sprouted rice which I left to cool to room temperature while I prepared the poke (instructions below) 

Tuna Poke

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: Easy
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1lb of sushi grade tuna (allows for 1/2lb per person for a substantial lunch)
2 tbsp soy sauce (low sodium)
2 tbsp ponzu
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp sesame seeds (a mix of black and regular makes for prettier poke!)
4 scallions (sliced) or 1/4 Maui onion (diced)
Optional: red chili flakes if you like it spicy

1. Combine soy sauce, ponzu, sesame oil, sesame seeds, scallions or onion to make marinade.
2. With a super sharp knife, slice tuna into cubes. Discard any sinewy pieces.
3. Place diced tuna into a bowl. Gradually add marinade, you want the tuna to be glistening vs. drowning. Store in refrigerator (covered) for up to 12 hours.

Enjoy! And/or use the poke to top a bowl of your favorite rice and vegetables like seaweed salad, avocado cubes, cucumber cubes, radish, edamame etc

I had a little poke left over so thought I’d try out poke appetizer spoons (read about other tuna appetizers including tuna tartare cones and spoons here), these would be good for a health concious gathering. Make up the poke according to the above recipe and then fill each spoon with a little brown rice, a cube of tuna poke and top with a scallion slice or edamame bean (because I like edamame more than scallion!). Look for shoyu soy sauce without gluten if you have a gluten-free diet.

Ahi tuna poke appetizer spoons with brown sprouted rice and edamame by MainelyEating.com

BLT sandwich with egg-in-the-hole toast…

Breakfast sandwich with heart shaped egg gifNothing says “I love you” more than a hot sandwich piled high with crispy bacon, creamy avocado slices, juicy tomatoes and topped with egg-in-a-hole toast (hit refresh to see the sandwich being built in the above gif). Am I right? If someone made me this sandwich I’d be a happy bunny indeed! And if my Mom happened to be visiting from the UK, I would totally be making her one of these for Mother’s Day.

This variation on the always delicious BLT sandwich adds avocado, cheese AND a runny-yolk egg to the mix. This would be a good cooking project for dads and kids to make for a Mother’s day breakfast. Kids can make the sandwich while dad deals with the cooking of the egg in the toast. Just don’t forget to clean up the kitchen…
BLT with avocado and runny yolk egg-in-the-hole toast - so deliciousCook the bacon until it’s your kind of crispy, in the meantime toast a piece of bread, butter it, add mayo, layer with lettuce, tomato slices, cheese and avocado. Using a sharp knife, cut a heart shape out of a second piece of bread and toast it using the bagel setting on your toaster (you only want to toast one side, the other will cook in the pan with the egg). Set aside the bacon and wipe out the pan. Add a little butter and/or vegetable oil to the pan. Cook the egg in the heart-shaped hole of the toast (cover the pan to set the top of the egg or broil for 20 seconds at the end) and enjoy!

heart shaped egg-in-the-hole BLT sandwich

  • Servings: 1 sandwich
  • Difficulty: fairly easy
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2 slices of bread for toasting
A little butter and/or mayonnaise
A couple of lettuce leaves
A few slices of tomato
A slice of your favorite cheese
1/4 avocado
4 slices of bacon (or more or less depending on your love of bacon)
1 tbsp butter or oil for frying the egg/bread


  1. Cook the bacon (in a pan or under the broiler)
  2. Meanwhile, toast 1 slice of bread. Spread with butter and/or mayo
  3. Layer toast with lettuce, tomato, cheese, sliced avocado
  4. Using a very sharp knife, cut a heart shape out of the 2nd piece of bread. If you have a cookie cutter that’s the right size you can use that instead. You want to press very firmly with the knife to avoid ripping the bread
  5. Use the bagel setting to toast one side of the bread
  6. Crack an egg onto a saucer (you want to make sure you are using an egg with an unbroken yolk)
  7. Set aside the cooked bacon to drain on some paper towels and wipe out the pan. Add the butter/oil to the pan, once it’s melted (low-medium heat), gently place the bread in with the toasted side up/non-toasted side down.
  8. Gently pour the egg into the heart shaped hole. Cook until the egg is your preferred level of done. It can help to put a lid on the pan to cook the top of the egg (or hold the pan under the broiler for 10-20 seconds right at the end).
  9. Using a fish slice, slice the egg/toast out of the pan and top your sandwich with it!

You can also mix a little sriracha into the mayo or add a few red pepper flakes if you like things spicy. This is definitely a knife and fork and extra napkins kind of sandwich!
Piled-high BLT with avocado, cheese and runny yolk egg-in-the-hole

Eggs En Cocotte

What does your perfect Sunday morning look like? Mine involves sleeping late, a delicious breakfast involving eggs, a pot of coffee for Paul, maybe a mimosa for me and the newspapers.

Eggs en cocotte, eggs nestled in a creamy spinach and ham casserole

Eggs en cocotte or Oeufs en cocotte (to be more correct) is a decadent little egg breakfast dish that’s just right for such a morning. Fresh eggs with runny yellow yolks cozily nestled in a bed of bubbling hot sautéed spinach and flavorful ham bound together by a creamy sauce with just a hint of garlic and cheese. I like to scoop up the spinach and ham, slather it on toast points and then dip into the egg yolk.

Don’t let the name make you think it’s some super complicated recipe.
Ouefs = Eggs
En Cocotte = In a casserole
So it’s basically just baked eggs, but bonus points if you call everyone to the table by announcing “Oeufs en cocotte sont prêt!” with your best French pronunciation 😉 You can use any small oven-proof dish, a ramekin works well or you could be more literal and use one of those cute baby Le Creuset or Staub Dutch ovens.

How to make eggs en cocotte with ham and spinach

Think of this recipe as more of a suggestion or starting point for your egg baking addiction because I’m guessing you won’t only make this once! I like to pair a really tasty baked ham (Niman Ranch Jambon Royale for example) with nutritious spinach but you can swap the ham for crispy cooked bacon or skip it for extra veggies if you’re not a meat eater. If you’re not a fan of spinach, consider sautéed mushrooms, wilted kale, baked zucchini slices, a tangle of caramelized onions, ripe tomatoes – so many possibilities!

If you’re feeling particularly lazy you can skip making the rich creamy sauce and just drizzle in a little heavy cream but I promise it’s worth the extra 5 minutes. 

I’m rating this recipe medium difficulty because there’s a slightly tricky part in deciding when the eggs are done baking. You can’t stick a thermometer in the egg (unless you want to burst the yolk) and even though I’ve included cooking times it’s going to vary according to the depth of your ramekins, the exact size of your eggs and the accuracy of your oven), you’ll have to jiggle the dishes to judge the level of done. I’ve found that sometimes by the time the egg whites have cooked then yolk is also cooked through but swapping the last few minutes of baking for broiling stops this happening.

eggs en cocotte or baked eggs

  • Servings: 2 people
  • Difficulty: medium
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Small piece of butter
~4 oz spinach (use more than you think, it wilts down to nothing!)
4 slices of good ham
1 cup heavy cream
1 garlic clove
~1 tbsp grated cheese – parmesan or gruyere
2 eggs

You’ll need small dishes/ramekins/baby Dutch ovens to cook the eggs in, plus a baking tray or dish large enough to hold the ramekins in their hot water bath.


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and put kettle/pan of water on to boil.
  2. Melt small knob of butter in pan, quickly cook spinach until just wilted.
  3. While spinach cooks, butter ramekins (so ham and spinach doesn’t stick) and layer ham on the bottom (taste the ham and if it’s salty you can reduce your seasoning as you cook).
  4. Add cooked spinach on top of ham leaving a hollow in the middle for the eggs.
  5. Wipe out pan (or else you’ll have green sauce). Gently crush a peeled garlic clove with the side of a knife (you want to just break the clove open to add just a hint of garlic).
  6. Add cream and garlic to pan over a high heat, add a pinch of salt (less if your ham is salty) and fresh ground black pepper and bring to the boil. Watch carefully as cream has a tendency to boil over, just lift pan from heat if this happens. Bubble furiously, stirring constantly and scraping down edges for ~5 minutes until cream has thickened. If you scrape your spoon across the pan you should see a trail in the cream. Remove from heat. Remove the garlic and add a little grated cheese (parmesan or gruyere) and stir to combine.
  7. Divide cream between the dishes and add a fresh egg to each one. If you’re a nervous egg cracker, crack egg onto small saucer first to check you haven’t broken the yolk and then slide into hollow.
  8. Put the egg dishes into the larger baking dish and pour in boiling water around the dishes so the water level is about halfway up the side (the water helps to cook the eggs more gently). Pop in 350 degree oven for ~10 minutes until the spinach is bubbling hot and the egg whites are just starting to turn opaque. Turn on the broiler (keep a constant watch!) and broil for 1-3 minutes so the eggs are just cooked with the yolk still runny (of course you can cook them for longer if you prefer a fully cooked yolk). The dishes will be super hot so be careful getting them out of the water bath.

Serve with hot buttered toast soldiers (strips of toast perfect for dipping).

Hot buttered toast points dipped in the egg yolk of eggs en cocotte with ham and spinach