A special tuna sandwich with Shiso

by foodhoe on January 30, 2012

I took this photo last summer of the shiso that grows in our backyard.  Years ago, a potted plant of shiso had flowered and spread its seeds, and so each spring I find tiny sprouts growing in the yard.  Because I love shiso so much, I pluck up the sprouts and replant them in my herb garden.  Shiso is a uniquely flavorful herb that is difficult to describe.  It has an intense flavor similar to anise but with a cinnamon kick that tickles your nose.  I think it tastes best eaten fresh, and is excellent paired with fish, or vegetables, or chopped fine in a chiffonade and spread over pasta or tofu.  It is so popular in Japan that in the summer of 2009, Pepsi Japan released a new seasonal flavored beverage, Pepsi Shiso.  Shiso (its scientific name is Perilla), is also known by its more common names of beefsteak plant or ooba.  Perilla seeds form an essential part of the famous “shichimi” seven spices of Japan , which originated more than 300 years ago in Kyoto.  I am so smitten with this lively herb that I named one of my kitties Shiso, who sadly, passed on over the weekend.  This is the only baby picture I have of her, she was awfully cute; a tiny fuzzball that loved frolicing and playing.

She grew up to be a long haired beauty with fire trimmed raven tresses and a mysterious allure.

And she had such a soulful gaze, you know how it is when a cat is trying to glamor you…

Green perilla leaves are often wrapped around sushi or served with “sashimi” as a garnish.  Shiso and tuna is a classic combination and when my little girl was suffering, tuna was one thing that she would respond to.  I had a stack of canned American Tuna that I ordered from Open Sky in the pantry.  Not to knock Open Sky, but you can get a better price shopping directly from the American Tuna website.  It is a small family business, based in San Diego, CA and their product is 100% pole caught — a sustainable fishing method.

ooh did someone say tuna?

Just look at this gorgeous hunk of sashimi grade albacore tuna, it is made from the loin, hand filleted and hand packed.  You can tell that the contents are made from a single filet. The small (12-25 pound) albacore used are very low in mercury levels, making their tuna exceptionally safe to eat, which is important, especially when feeding a sick cat or its anxious caretaker.

I drained all of the precious liquid and mashed it up with a bit of the filet, which made a restorative elixir for my ailing girl.  After that, it took a bit of work to break up the remaining filet, but it makes a gorgeous mound of tuna that is infinitely more flavorful and fresh tasting than chicken of the sea.

I made a rather grand tuna sandwich for Mr. K and me.  Simply made with vegennaise, chopped red onion and capers, it is fabulous with shiso leaves tucked in with the lettuce…

Mmmmm, delicious… a very special sandwich indeed!

Shiso the cat 1999-2012. RIP.

Shiso is in our heart and thoughts, we’ll think of you every summer when the garden is in bloom…


{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

hungry dog January 30, 2012 at 9:48 am

Oh, I’m so sorry about Shiso. What a beautiful kitty. I know she must have had a wonderful life with you. Thinking of you during these sad days (I know them too well…) xoxo


foodhoe January 30, 2012 at 9:01 pm

hungry dog, I remember when I read your beautiful post about francis, it is like losing your family…


Rosa January 30, 2012 at 10:43 am

Oh, I’m so sorry for your loss! Shiso looked so sweet and beautiful.




foodhoe February 1, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Thanks Rosa


Lisa G. January 30, 2012 at 11:11 am

I am so sorry for your loss. Shiso was a beautiful cat. You both were lucky to have had each other…

Lisa G.


foodhoe January 30, 2012 at 11:39 am

aww, thanks for all of your kind words. it helps… 🙁


Ben @Focus:Snap:Eat January 30, 2012 at 11:40 am

Oh, your cat had eyes the color of shiso! Sorry about your cat. That’s a beautiful story about the shiso sprouts just appearing all over your garden, like little surprises. Hope that whenever you find these fresh sprouts in the summer, it’ll always remind you of Shiso the cat.


Row January 30, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Sorry to hear about Shisho… she had such beautiful eyes. *big hugs* 🙁


Mank January 30, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Wow, she had fantastic eyes. It’s a rough patch, that’s for sure. Thanks for coming by on Saturday.


foodhoe January 30, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Mank, it most definitely is a rough patch… I always thought she looked a bit owlish with those big eyes! Give Lily a smooch, oh and Otis too.


rowena January 31, 2012 at 1:15 am

Losing a beloved pet is never easy and I am sorry to hear about Shiso’s passing (and also about the thugs earlier!). And regarding shiso, I ordered some seeds for korean perilla so I look forward to how they’ll compare, if at all, to the japanese type that comes back every year in the garden.


foodhoe February 1, 2012 at 6:00 pm

rowena, I don’t think I’ve ever had Korean perilla, the leaves look darker and thicker, but I’m interested to hear what you think.


Cookie February 1, 2012 at 9:50 am

I’m very sorry to hear about your kitty but I’m sure you gave it a good life. I can’t wait to try shiso!


Debbie G. February 3, 2012 at 7:55 pm

First I did not know Shisho was anything but the name of your cat (I am NOT of food hoe knowledge).
This is one of the most touching memorials to a fur child I have ever seen. I am all teary. I am glad I did get to meet her once. She was very beautiful and had a wonderful mom. I know when I lost Rasta how hard it was (and still is when I think of him) and I can feel your pain and send you hugs and positive vibes. Thanks for sharing this with all of us. This is very special.


foodhoe February 4, 2012 at 10:06 am

aww Debbie G, thanks so much for your kind thoughts and words. We miss our girl very much…


grace February 4, 2012 at 8:08 am

sorry you lost your kitty, but she had a great name and, no doubt, a great home.


Carolyn Jung February 4, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Condolences on Shiso. She definitely had a beautiful name. I can’t resist that herb, either, and grow a pot in my yard to enjoy, as well.


Bonnibella February 5, 2012 at 4:20 pm

I am so sorry to hear about Shiso. My thoughts to you and Mr. K. What a grand way to remember Shiso the kitty when Shiso is blooming in your garden and every time you use in in your food.


Gene February 19, 2012 at 2:23 pm

So sorry to hear about Shiso. She was a beauty. One of our kitties, Star, is circling me now, trying to decide between my lap or the sun in the living room.


Sushi Vegas February 27, 2012 at 7:58 am

OH MY GOD !! This tuna sandwich seems to be amazing man !! Seriously 😛


Kirk March 6, 2012 at 7:49 am

So sorry for your loss FH. She was beautiful……


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