If I ever see tuna tartare on a restaurant menu, I just have to order it. Resistance is pointless. Nothing else looks good once I know that I can have that tastebud-titillating combo of rich raw tuna and Asian spices, especially when it is prepared with avocado. And if anyone suggests sharing, I shoot them the death stare before suggesting they get their own tartare. I don’t care who’s in the sandbox: I don’t share my tuna tartare.
But before last week, I had never attempted to make my own.
It turns out that tuna tartare is surprisingly easy to prepare. All you need is fresh, gorgeous sushi-grade Ahi tuna, which is probably easier said than done. Many grocery stores advertise sushi-quality tuna, and while seeing it in writing is nice, you should also trust your eyes. The tuna should be ruby red and shiny, free of whitish membranes, and it should look fresh and moist, not dull and dark. It should really look great and make you want to say out loud, “Now that’s some good looking tuna!” If you see it, you’ll know.
The good news is that you won’t need a lot to make this appetizer; a half a pound should do the trick. Chop it up, mix it with a little fresh lemon juice, a ripe avocado, a dab of wasabi paste and some ponzu sauce, and you’ll be in tuna tartare heaven at home. I promise that your friends will host an impromptu parade… if you share.
Tuna Tartare Appetizer
1/2 pound of really high quality ahi tuna
2 ripe avocados
1/3 cups of ponzu sauce (I used Kikkoman Ponzu sauce bought at Safeway but you can easily make your own)
1 heaving tablespoon of wasabi paste (or more if you like it really spicy)
juice of 1/2 lemon
3 teaspoons of soy sauce (or more to taste)
1/2 cup of baked Lays Potato Chips (you may be raising your eyebrows here, but the crunchy saltiness of Baked Lays is the perfect match for the tender tuna. Just like Dr. Seuss says in Green Eggs and Ham, “Try it, try it!”)
- Chop the tuna up very finely with a sharpened knife. Cutting it when it is very cold will make the chopping easier. Doing a great chopping job is key to this dish as the texture is a huge part of why it is so delicious.
- Slice the avocados and dice them small. Mix into the tuna mixture.
- Pour the Ponzu sauce, the wasabi paste, and the lemon juice over the tuna and avocado mixture. Taste. Add soy sauce and more wasabi as necessary.
- Arrange as artistically as possible in a pretty bowl. Position the Baked Lays around it. Serve with a spoon.