Don Saunder’s Thai Style Raw Hamachi w/ Cucumber and Watercress

-Written by Stephanie Meyer
-Photographed by Susan Powers

Right about now cucumbers are taking over gardens, farmers markets, CSA boxes…and your refrigerator. I know. It happens every summer and all of a sudden everyone is begging for new ways to use the bounty, shy of canning a boatload of pickles.

Not that there’s anything wrong with pickles! In fact, I’m completely pickle-obsessed these days, particularly with quick-to-pull-together refrigerator pickles. This dish is a bit of twist on just that, quick to pull together, packed with flavor. I’ll be making these all summer long.

Thai nuoc cham provides the quick marinade here. The cucumbers marinate only briefly before providing a crunchy-salty-sweet foil for silky raw hamachi.

You can easily prepare the nuac cham and soy dressing ahead a few hours, as well as slice the hamachi. If you do that, you’ll be able to plate this for a summer dinner party in mere minutes. Lovely!

We love limes! And what they do to Hamachi!

This guy is a little hottie!

The garlic didn’t stand a chance.

We love microplanes!

Good Stuff.

The cucumber gets peeled, sliced and…


A quick dip in the marinade.

Thai Style Raw Hamachi w/ Cucumber and Watercress

Chef Don Saunders, In Season

Serves 4


Nuoc Cham

2 Tbsp. lime juice

2 Tbsp. fish sauce

2 Tbsp. water

1 tsp. rice wine vinegar

2 tsp. sugar

1/2 Thai chili, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. grated ginger

1 tsp. grated lemongrass


Soy Dressing

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard

2 tsp. sherry vinegar

2 Tbsp. canola or vegetable oil


1 cucumber, cut into thin julienne

1 lb. frozen raw hamachi, cleaned into loins (could certainly substitute sashimi grade ahi tuna), sliced thin (like sashimi)

1 bunch watercress, torn apart

1/2 bunch basil, leaves torn apart

coarse sea salt


In a small bowl, whisk together all nuoc cham ingredients.  In another small bowl, whisk together all soy dressing ingredients.

Marinate cucumbers in nuoc cham for 1 minute, then divide among 4 chilled plates.  Marinate hamachi in nuoc cham for 1 minute, then divide among the 4 plates.  Arrange fish over cucumbers.

In a small bowl, toss watercress and basil with the soy dressing.  Divide among the 4 plates, then drizzle a little soy dressing on the plate and sprinkle sea salt on fish. Serve immediately.

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