There are some foods that I think taste better when raw, and tuna is definitely one of them. Don’t get me wrong, I love a perfectly seared tuna steak but often find that I simply prefer to have it as it comes. A tuna tartar is therefore the natural choice for me. When it comes to creating a tartar there are many choices to make: do you add a dressing or go back to basics and keep it simple? Egg yolk or no egg yolk for binding? What seasonings to add? But one thing that cannot be negotiated on is the quality of the tuna; quite simply the fresher the better.
A fresh and tasty dish that works well as a starter or add your favourite salad leaves for a light lunch dish. Perfect for those times when you want to impress but with minimal effort!
You are looking for a nice thick steak. If you can find somewhere that cuts steaks on request then this would be perfect as you can get a beautiful piece sliced just for you. Some fishmongers may be able to offer this option but many will still only have the pre-portioned options. You do not need sushi grade tuna to make a good tartar but if you are able to locate some, and can afford it, then it will be a very special dish.
I always look for a steak which is about an inch thick with a nice deep red colour and as little fat as possible. You need to be able to slice through the steak without getting caught on any sinew or fat; you are more likely to encounter this issue with cheaper pieces or off cuts. For further details on what to consider when buying your tuna take a look at my previous recipe post for tuna with mango salsa.
This time I’ve added Asian flavours to the tuna with a dressing made from sesame oil and coconut aminos along with spring onions and sesame seeds. It would also work well with a bit of heat; fresh wasabi would be perfect (the shop bought options are full of additives) or some crushed ginger would also do the trick. I decided to keep the flavours clean and light to let the freshness of the tuna come through.
One of the best flavour combinations with raw tuna has to be avocado. I first tried a tuna tartar with avocado and tomato on holiday in Thailand and it was one of the most refreshing dishes I have ever had. I have therefore incorporated a layer of avocado into my tuna tartar. This is kept simple with just a squeeze of lime juice, chopped coriander, and some sea salt.
I used a chef’s ring to create the shape for my tuna tartar (the official term for creating a tower is a tian). They are available in most cook shops and are a useful piece of equipment to have in the cupboard. If you don’t have one then you can just stack the ingredients or even just mix everything together and serve.
- 1 tsp coconut aminos
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 squeeze lemon juice
- 1 avocado, chopped into small cubes
- ½ lime, juice only
- 3 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped
- 250g tuna, chopped into small cubes
- 4 spring onions, very finely chopped
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- Sea salt
- Mix the coconut aminos and the sesame oil together, add a squeeze of lemon juice and set the dressing to one side.
- Place the avocado, lime juice, fresh coriander and a pinch of salt into a bowl and mix together.
- Place the tuna into another bowl and add the spring onions and sesame seeds. Add a touch of sea salt and mix together.
- Add a tsp of the dressing to the tuna, mix together and then taste. If you would like to add more dressing then do so. You are looking for a light flavour rather than a heavy coating.
- Using a chef's ring, place the avocado into the bottom and press down so that there is an even layer.
- Top with the tuna mixture and serve.