Recipe: Spring Poke with green vegetables

Spring Poke with Green Vegetables and Hijiki Seaweed
Serves 6 people


  • 1 lb. skinless halibut fillet (or sashimi quality fish of choice ) cut into thin slices (fish should be extremely fresh )
  • ½ oz dried hijiki seaweed (soak until tender in cold water, strain excess water and reserve seaweed )
  • ½ cup English peas - blanched in lightly salted water until barely cooked
  • ½ cup fava beans - blanched in lightly salted water until barely cooked
  • ½ cup asparagus tips - blanched in lightly salted water until barely cooked
  • 15 mint leaves torn gently
  • 1 cup julienne of celery root
  • 2 tbsp finely sliced scallion greens
  • 1 cup finely sliced fennel
  • ½ cup sesame dressing ( recipe attached)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1 cup mizuna leaves
Sesame dressing:

  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup grapeseed oil
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  1. Marinate celery root and fennel with the lemon juice, add oil, soy sauce, green vegetables and mint. Season with salt and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Add fish and hijiki seaweed and lightly toss to coat.

  2. Add sesame dressing, halibut and mizuna and immediately place on a chilled serving platter.

  3. Garnish with scallions, and sesame seeds and serve immediately.

The sake pairing with this dish is Hakuro Suishu.

About Nicolaus Balla:

Nicolaus Balla was the former Executive Chef of O Izakaya and the Hotel Kabuki in Japantown. Balla, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, traveled and cooked extensively in Japan before moving to San Francisco.

Notable among his Japanese culinary endeavors are the coveted stage he completed at Michelin 3-star kaiseki, Tsukiji Tamura, and making Sanuki Udon in Takamatsu, known as the best udon in Japan.

After bringing his talents to Ozumo in 2004, Balla moved on to open Americano and then worked at The Angeleno's perennially packed West Restaurant in Los Angeles.

He then migrated back to San Francisco to take on the role of Executive Chef at O Izakaya Lounge and the Hotel Kabuki, where he earned three stars for his food from Michael Bauer of The San Francisco Chronicle.

Restaurant description:

In Japanese, the word Nombe refers to someone who likes to drink heartily. It's a fitting name for San Francisco's hottest new izakaya, a dining concept that traditionally focuses on heavy drinking coupled with an array of sharable chef-driven small plates to soak up the booze.

Mari Takahashi and Gil Payne (Sozai Restaurant) have joined forces with Nicolaus Balla (former Executive Chef of O Izakaya and Japantown's Hotel Kabuki) for this lively Japanese take on the popular gastropub dining concept.

2491 Mission St. at 21st Street
Phone: (415) 681-7150

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