Ahi Tuna Tower

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Ahi Tuna TowerHold on a minute. Do you mean to tell me that a casserole doesn’t have to be cooked at all? Yes, that is what I’m saying. But you told us in your opening manifesto of this beautiful book that a casserole by definition had to spend at least some time in the oven. You should know better than to listen to me. Do you often talk to yourself? Yes. It helps. This beauty of a casserole is the result of years of diligent and delicious study. Investigations into perfect combinations of flavors, textures, and emotions have led me to the ideal Japan-inspired composition. Where it does not spend time in the oven, it is baked in love.

  • Yield: 6 to 8 Servings
  • Total Time: 1 Hour 10 Minutes


  • 1 cup Japanese or other short grain rice, uncooked
  • 2 lb sushi-grade Ahi tuna, diced
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp vegetable, canola, or other neutral-flavored oil
  • 1 lb jumbo lump crab meat
  • 2 avocados, peeled, pitted, diced
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ¾ cup sriracha-style hot sauce
  • 2 Tbsp black sesame seeds
How to Make It
  1. Cook the rice according to package directions, approximately 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine the tuna and soy sauce.
  2. Allow the mixture to marinate while you await the rice. Once the rice is cooked, transfer it to a cool, flat surface with a rim, such as a clean baking dish. While the rice is hot, sprinkle it with sugar and then the rice vinegar and stir to combine.
  3. Stir occasionally for the next 30 minutes to help it cool and so the rice doesn’t clump up.
  4. To make the sauce, combine the mayonnaise with the hot sauce in a small mixing bowl. Stir to blend completely. Set aside.
  5. Using a paper towel, coat the bottom and sides of a baking dish with oil. In the bottom of the baking dish, spread an even layer using all the tuna. Use the back of a spoon or a clean hand to press the layer flat. Then create a similar layer using all the crab, followed by a layer of the avocadoes. Lastly, cover the top with an even layer of the seasoned rice. The contents should be flush with the top of the baking dish, if not very close.
  6. Find a (liftable) cutting board or flat platter larger than the baking dish. Place the board or platter upside down on top of the baking dish and carefully flip, so the baking dish ends up on top. Slowly unmold the Tuna Tower. It should separate from the baking dish smoothly.
  7. Pour the spicy mayonnaise sauce across the top of the Tower, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve in heaps. Try to include all layers!

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