This poke recipe is so light and fresh and easy. The key to the dish is getting very, very high quality and super fresh tuna. Without that, this dish is nothing. The essential oils really add a grand amount of flavor that you can’t get from any other source. Be sure to use food-grade high quality essential oils (like those from Young Living). Read the labels on the essential oil bottles. If they say “not for internal consumption”, believe them. This probably means there’s something in them they aren’t telling you — not all and only essential oil.

1 pound ahi tuna, large diced in ¼ to ½ inch cubes

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

3 drops orange essential oil

1 Meyer lemon rind, finely minced

1 tablespoon Black sesame seeds

 One pinch Tabasco powder or ¼ teaspoon tabasco sauce

Combine sesame oil, orange oil and tuna. Marinate for 30 minutes. Before serving, add lemon rind, tabasco, and sesame seeds and stir. Drizzle with ponzu sance and garnish with lemon rind and mint leaves.

Ponzu sauce

3 teaspoons fresh oregano, minced

2 pinches Black lava salt

¼ cup olive oil

½ cup Yuzu sauce

1 teaspoon Black sesame seeds

Combine all ingredients and stir well.


1 Meyer lemon rind, finely zested

1 tablespoon mint leaves, finely sliced (Chiffonade)

Combine lemon rind and mint in ice water and hold for garnish.

This recipe was one of the first things I tried when I got my first Italian wood-fired pizza oven. It is so simple, yet fresh and vibrant. The salt forms an oven-like dome around the fish to cook it gently and evenly in the citrus and oil. The salt traps the moisture inside for a cooking environment that is partially roasted and partially steamed. The effect is fragrant, moist, and perfect. This method is common in Sicily where they cook with a lot of Italian lemons, olive oil, and sea salt. You can also cook a whole fish this way, instead of using filets. If you do this, of course, beware of the bones when you eat it.

2 Fresh gulf snapper fillets
Juice of 1 Meyer lemons
2 sprigs fresh lemon thyme
1 sprig fresh Rosemary
1 tablespoon Olive oil
2 teaspoons smoked salt
3 Egg whites
1 tablespoon herbs de Provence
3 pounds coarse salt
2 Meyer lemons sliced
Zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper

First, prepare the fish. Score the skin-side of the fish. Flip the fish over to put the skin-side down. Squeeze the lemon juice over the fish. Make a past of the thyme, rosemary and olive oil. (You can also add the zest of the ½ of the squeezed lemon to the paste.) Spread oil paste on the fish. Wrap fish in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours. To prepare the salt crust, whisk the egg whites and herbs de Provence together until firm stiff peaks form (like a meringue). Add the coarse salt and mix to the consistency of wet sand. (I usually do this by hand.) The egg whites will make the salt crust hard like concrete.

Take the fish out of the refrigerator and remove the plastic wrap. Sprinkle the fish with the smoked salt.

Spread salt mixture in bottom of cast iron pan. Lay in fish on top of salt. Lay sliced lemons on top of fish. Parchment paper or banana leaves on top of lemons. If you don’t have a barrier between the fish and the salt, the salt will turn the fish gray. Then mound up remainder of salt and make a dome to seal in the fish.

Bake in wood fired oven 700 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or an indoor oven at 500 degrees for 15-18 minutes, until salt dome is brown and hard and sounds hollow. (I use the back of a kitchen spoon to tap on it for the hollow effect.)

Remove the top salt crust carefully and discard. (Don’t put it down the drain.) remove the fish to a platter and top with grated lemon zest and cracked black pepper.

This is such a fresh and delicious dish. Get the highest quality ahi tuna you can find. With the dried lavender buds, the fresher the better. Yuzu is a tart Japanese fruit. When yuzu is combined with the port wine, ginger and balsamic, the result is divine.

1 ½ pound center cut fresh ahi tuna cut into a 2-inch wide uniform log that is about 4-5 inches in length (use the trim for poke)

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 ½ teaspoons dried lavender buds

2 teaspoons black sesame seeds

Port Yuzu Reduction (see recipe)

Black Lava Salt

Using mortar and pestle, grind lavender buds and sesame seeds together. Lightly coat tuna in olive oil, then sprinkle salt and pepper over whole loin. Roll tuna in lavender and sesame mix to crust. Lightly oil a nonstick pan. Sear crusted tuna over high heat, no more than 10 seconds per side. Turn to lightly sear all sides. Refrigerate for about 10 minutes to cool before slicing. Slice in quarter to half inch slices.

Serve with Port Yuzu reduction. Sprinkle plate with black lava salt before serving.

Port Yuzu Reduction

2 750 ml bottles port wine

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

1 cup Yuzu sauce

1 cup balsamic vinegar

Add port wine to sauce pot. Bring to low simmer. Add fresh ginger. Reduce by half. Add Yuzu, return to stove, and reduce by half again. Add balsamic vinegar and reduce by half again. This reduction goes slowly and takes quite a while for the best result.