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Recipe: Poke Tacos

At the Art of Catering Food in New Orleans, LA this past March 2019, the states of Pennsylvania, Illinois, and California were represented on stage in “Thirty Hors d’oeuvres in 30 Minutes” via chefs Paul Larson (Blue Plate Catering; Illinois), Jay Varga (JDK Group; Pennsylvania), and the team of Jimmy Olang and Nicholas Weber (24 Carrots; California).

Each chef presented 10 delicious and creative ideas to impress clients, and then sampled one of those ideas to the audience. Bonus! Almost all of the hors d’oeuvre recipes were shared with attendees after the presentation. Here is a look at Chef Jay Varga's Poke Taco appetizer. Click here for Chef Larson's Charcoal Salmon Crepe recipe and here for Chefs Jimmy Olang and Nick Weber's Octopus Toast

Jay Varga, JDK Group


with pickled cucumber matchsticks

Salmon Poké

Yield 32 oz

2 lb salmon, diced into ¼” cubes
8 oz sweet onion, finely diced
2 each scallion, thinly sliced
2½ tsp sesame oil
¼ cup soy sauce
2 T sesame oil
1 T sambal
1 T red wine vinegar


Toss salmon with all ingredients listed into a mixing bowl. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and gently fold to combine.

Pickled Cucumber Matchsticks

Yield 16 oz

1 pound English cucumbers cut into matchsticks
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup rice wine vinegar
¼ cup white granulated sugar
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil


1. Place the cucumber matchsticks in a mixing bowl and add salt. Mix well and let the cucumbers sit for 10 minutes. 2. Squeeze all excess juice from cucumbers. 3. Whisk rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, and sesame oil together in a bowl until sugar is dissolved. Pour over cucumbers and toss together.


Note: The mini taco shells Chef Varga used were purchased from Spoon poké into taco shells, garnish with cucumber matchsticks.

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