Gloria Ferrer's Ahi Tuna and Cucumber Appetizer

The clean Japanese flavors of “maguro” sushi are brought together in this dazzling appetizer. A sesame-soy marinade lifts the tuna flavors, and the wasabi (horseradish) and pickled ginger give these delectable rollups a real punch.

Servings: 24 pieces

Cook Time: 20 minutes plus time to marinate tuna

Pair With: The Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards Brut sparkling wine.

Source: Recipe courtesy Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards; photo by Tama Takahashi, Touring & Tasting Food Editor.


Ingredients For the Appetizer:
1/2 pound Ahi tuna – absolutely fresh, dark red, high quality “sushi grade” is essential here
Marinade (below)
1 or 2 English cucumbers – long style, the thinner the better
1 teaspoon Wasabi – Japanese green horseradish, available in powder or paste

2 ounces pickled ginger

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Ingredients For the Marinade:

2 tablespoons green onion - chives will work as a substitute
1 tablespoon fresh ginger - if you can’t find the fresh root, skip it. Don’t use powder!

2 tablespoons soy sauce - good quality “shoyu” works best

2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar – substitute any light wine vinegar if necessary

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil – toasted sesame oil has more flavor than untoasted

pinch black pepper—several turns from the peppermill works best


Directions For the Marinade:
Finely chop the green onion and mince the fresh ginger root. Place them in a mixing bowl and add all of the other marinade ingredients. Cut the tuna steak into small cubes (1/4” or smaller) and coat with the marinade in bowl. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator until ready for assembly – 1 to 6 hours is best.

Directions For the Appetizer:
Dilute wasabi with enough water to achieve a liquid the consistency of ketchup. Lightly toast the sesame seeds in a 350 degree oven for 4 minutes.

The appetizer can be presented in three different ways: as rollup--with long, thin slices of cucumber encasing the tuna; as canapes with slices of cucumber topped with tuna; or as boats--with cucumber cups holding the tuna.

To Make Cucumber Rollups:
Slice the cucumber lengthwise into very thin long strips using a mandoline. Place a cucumber slice on your work surface. Paint lightly with the diluted wasabi. Lay several slices of pickled ginger along the length of the cucumber. Place a 1/2 tablespoon of the marinated tuna at the very end of the long cucumber slice. Roll up the slice making sure that the filling does not fall out. If the individual pieces are too large, carefully cut the rollups in half with a sharp knife. Garnish with a light sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds and arrange on platter for service.

To Make Cucumber Canapes:
Slice cucumber crosswise into disks less than 1/4” thick. Paint the disks lightly with the diluted wasabi. Top with a slice of pickled ginger. Top with a 1/2 tablespoon of the marinated tuna. Garnish with a light sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds and arrange on platter for service.

To Make Cucumber Cups:
Cut cucumber(s) into 1.5” to 2” lengths. Use a spoon or melon baller to create a cavity. Paint the cavities lightly with the diluted wasabi. Place a slice of pickled ginger inside. Fill with the marinated tuna. Garnish with a light sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds and arrange on platter for service.

Chef's Notes:

Editor's Note: Pictured are the cucumber cups and a cucumber canape.

Recipe Courtesy Of

Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards

Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards in Sonoma, California is renowned for the creation of exquisite estate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines as well as sparkling wines.