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Tuna Tartare (and a Foodie Get-Together)

February 10, 2011

What do you do when you have two fabulous foodies coming over with their families to dine with you?  Lisa of Authentic Suburban Gourmet and Liren of Kitchen Confidante did just that this past weekend.  They are two of the many friends I’ve been lucky enough to make out of this hobby called food blogging.  I have mentioned them here before but more importantly, I have also been a guest in their homes and have sampled their tasty creations.  From both dinner parties they have each hosted, I have left full and happy.

Me, Lisa of Authentic Suburban Gourmet and Liren of Kitchen Confidante

Knowing that the two of them are über skilled in the art of entertaining almost had the butterflies in my tummy start to go a flutter–I wanted to make certain I fed them well and that they would also leave my home happy and satisfied.  Thankfully, I’m a reformed entertaining basket case.  Coupled with having most gracious guests, I also selected a menu with dishes I was very familiar with to eliminate all threat of anxiety.  Instead, I found myself relaxed from planning the menu days before to the time my guests arrived.

For dinner I served a simple salad, asparagus bundles wrapped in culatello (an Italian ham similar to proscuitto) and tied with chives (which were cooked in the oven), roast baby potatoes tossed in garlic, olive oil, cumin and chili powder and filet mignons which I allowed to sit in a dry rub for 24 hours.  I served two accompaniments for the steak–my favorite Italian salsa verde which I’ve shared here and also crimini and dried porcini mushrooms which I sautéed in olive oil, a bit of butter with a splash of red wine and the porcini mushroom liquid.  For dessert, I served my go-to chocolate cake which I’ve also shared here.

To whet our appetites, I served some charcuterie, cheese, olives, freshly-prepared Margherita pizzas and this tuna tartare.  I found this recipe many years ago but it kept getting buried under the ever-growing pile of recipes that I promised to try “soon” so it was temporarily forgotten.  Fortunately, a random memory came to mind reminding me how much I used to enjoy this dish so I decided to finally try it at home.

I realize that raw fish is not for everyone and that serving it to guests involves a certain amount of risk.  However, I did make sure to use the freshest sashimi-grade tuna I could find and I decided that none of the precious fish would go to waste because I would have been happy to eat any leftovers.  As it turns out, I did have leftovers, having used just under a pound of tuna for the recipe but my husband was only too happy to consume it all.

This tuna tartare will be a burst of freshness in your mouth.  Infused with lime juice, wasabi, a bit of soy sauce, hot sauce, jalapeño, scallions and avocado, it was a pure delight to eat.  I used two large ramekins (1 1/4 cup capacity) for my molds and allowed the flavors to blend for an hour or two.  When I served on a plate, I noticed that the tuna was “cooked” a bit by the lime juice and that the avocado imparted a greenish hue to the tartare.  The recipe did strongly recommend mixing in the avocado very carefully (so as to avoid this I would guess) but I was extremely happy with it.  In fact, I had to fight to share the leftovers with my husband the next day as he fell in love with it, too.  I served this on sliced baguettes but I will upgrade to crispy wonton squares next time.  And there will be a next time.


By the way, there’s still time to enter my $50 CSN Giveaway. Just click here.  Someone has to win–might as well have a go at it! 🙂

Tuna Tartare

* Recipe from Ina Garten here but scaled down to serve 4-6 as a starter.

  • Roughly one pound  sashimi-grade tuna
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • zest of 1 1/2 limes
  • 1/2 teaspoon wasabi powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce (I used Frank’s Red Hot)
  • Kosher salt, I used one large and one small pinch (sorry, that’s the best measurement I can give you)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (about three turns on my peppermill)
  • 3 minced scallions, white and green parts
  • 1 minced fresh jalapeno pepper, seeds removed (I included some of the seeds)
  • 1 ripe Hass avocado

Dice the tuna in 1/4-inch pieces and place in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the olive oil, lime zest, lime juice, wasabi, soy sauce, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Add the mixture to the tuna then add the scallions and jalapeno and mix well. Cut the avocados the same size as the tuna pieces. I did this by halving the avocado, removing the seed and scoring the meat with a knife.  Then I used a spoon to scoop out the pieces and added to the mixture (very carefully!).  Allow the mixture to sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour for the flavors to blend.  Serve on baguettes, crackers, or baked wonton squares.

44 Comments leave one →
  1. February 10, 2011 1:18 PM

    So lucky! I love Liren, too! Food looks ridiculous, but of course it would look amazing!

  2. February 10, 2011 1:24 PM

    Jean, that was SUCH a fun night! I chuckle at how you talk about yourself as a reformed entertainer, but really, you are a natural entertainer! You made us all feel so warm and welcome, and the dinner was just fabulous. My hubs had such a great time meeting you, Lisa and the husbands, and even my kids fell in love with you! Thank you for a wonderful evening!

    Oh, almost forgot – I really did enjoy the tuna – so fresh and delicious!

    • February 12, 2011 8:26 PM

      Liren, it was a pleasure for me and hubby to finally meet your fam. We adored your children! It was truly a fun evening. 🙂

  3. February 10, 2011 1:42 PM

    The tuna looks so beautiful and everything else sounds amazing. I wouldn’t expect anything less from you cooking or entertaining-wise. You seem like such a sweet person, a real natural. Glad your party was a success and the leftovers were great. My mouth was watering reading this. Have a great day 🙂

  4. February 10, 2011 1:44 PM

    That tuna tartare looks so gorgeously fresh that I’d happily have eaten all the leftovers too. What a lucky husband you have! 🙂 Love the idea of upgrading to a crisp wonton instead of bread.
    And I must say, the rest of the menu sounds absolutely wonderful too. The best dinner parties are relaxed and un-fussy… there’s no fun in spending so much time worrying over the preparations that you can’t spend time with your guests. They’re there for you, not for your food!

    • February 12, 2011 8:29 PM

      Isabelle, thanks so much! The tartare didn’t last long at all. We enjoyed the leftovers the very next day. 🙂

  5. February 10, 2011 2:05 PM

    I love tuna tartare…so fresh and tasty. I order it nearly every time I see it on a menu but have never tried it at home. You’ve inspired me to make it!

    • February 12, 2011 8:30 PM

      Kate, the tartare was very easy to make and I must say that I like this version a lot. It’s the first I’ve seen with avocado mixed in it and it’s quite good. I highly recommend this. Thanks so much!

  6. February 10, 2011 4:30 PM

    Oh you must have had a wonderful time… you girls look gorgeous!

    That menu is also amazing…I’m loving that asparagus. Your tuna tartare looks fantastic!

  7. February 10, 2011 6:21 PM

    This sounds like such a fun evening! The menu sounds so overwhelmingly delicious, I don’t know how people even had any room for the chocolate cake. Oh wait, it’s cake. There’s always room for cake 🙂

  8. February 10, 2011 6:21 PM

    So lovely! This is the definitely a moment when I truly “wish I were there”, too! This tuna tartare looks delicious and fresh, and something that I will definitely give a try. 😎

  9. February 10, 2011 6:28 PM

    Jean – we had such a GREAT time with you, Liren and the hubbies and Liren’s adorable kids. Your house is completely warm and inviting. We felt at home right when we walked through the door. The food was amazing! You inspired me with the handmade pizzas that we went to William-Sonoma the next day and bought a pizza stone and paddle. You are a superb entertainer and make it look effortless. Thank you for the quick photography tutorial – it really helped! Looking forward to the next get together! 🙂

    • February 12, 2011 8:34 PM

      Oh, that’s great, Lisa! So glad you were able to find a pizza peel, too. I had to order mine online a few years ago. Thanks so much for coming to dinner last weekend. We so enjoyed your company. 🙂

  10. February 10, 2011 10:11 PM

    my favourite way to eat tuna — and the geranium plate you have the crostini on is so gorgeous — it makes the picture! Isn’t food blogging a wonderful way to make friends? Theresa

    • February 12, 2011 8:35 PM

      You know, I don’t know my flora. Not sure what kind of flower this is, I’m embarrassed to say. I’m glad you like it, though! And yes, making friends out of food blogging has been the best! 🙂

  11. February 10, 2011 10:13 PM

    or should that be hyacinth plate?

  12. February 10, 2011 10:35 PM

    Everything looks gorgeous – great photos! That plate is beautiful. Looks like you guys had a great time!

  13. February 11, 2011 7:26 AM

    I think tuna tartar is my favorite appetizer ever! What a delicious meal…and how wonderful to share it all with foodie friends 🙂

  14. February 11, 2011 8:13 AM

    Lovely photo of the 3 of you and looking so relaxed! Impressive entertaining and sounded a fabulous evening. Your tuna tartare looks so fresh and zingy.

  15. February 11, 2011 8:23 AM

    There’s something about tuna and soy sauce and avocado that gets my mouth watering. Your photos make me even hungrier, everything looks so tempting!

  16. February 11, 2011 10:09 AM

    First off, how lovely that you have made friends from blogging. Second, I don’t know what’s more beautiful — that tuna tartar or the plate! Either way, it all looks wonderful!

  17. February 11, 2011 2:25 PM

    I’m sure that was an amazing dinner! Great food and great company. What could be better! The pictures are amazing, Jean!

  18. February 11, 2011 5:32 PM

    You ladies look gorgeous and the food, sumptuous {I rhyme}!

    Jean, are those your paintings? Lovely!

  19. February 11, 2011 10:22 PM

    Some of my favorite blogging ladies in one place…eating some amazing food…I’m a bit jealous! You ladies just glow (such inner and outer beauty!) Thank you for sharing another great recipe with me. You never let me down! I hope you have a weekend of love and relaxation. We all need it, I think!

    • February 12, 2011 8:42 PM

      Malou, we’ll definitely keep you posted on the palabok party. It should be lots of fun and will be much better if you’re there, too. 🙂

  20. February 12, 2011 4:06 PM

    Would love to attend one of your parties too. I look forward to join you at the “palabok” meet up… I hope you could keep me posted so I can plan to be there too!

    Great food + great company = perfect party!

  21. February 12, 2011 11:10 PM

    What a fabulous evening of delicious food and friendship! The photo of the three of you says it all – so gorgeous! Love tuna tartare – and your tartare looks so fresh and inviting on the floral plate – I think the idea of serving it on wonton skins is perfect.

  22. February 13, 2011 12:33 AM

    Jean sounds like you gals had an amazing time and your food looks simply fabulous. I love the photo of the three of you… and of the tuna tartare, great light! Hope you have a great weekend more blogger dinners in the future. (Wish I lived closer!)

  23. February 13, 2011 7:05 AM

    Looks like a fun time was had by all!
    I love your tuna tartare recipe, it looks so pretty and delicious.
    Hope you’re enjoying your weekend;-)

  24. February 13, 2011 9:07 AM

    What a lovely, lovely meal. I envy you the opportunity to meet other bloggers in real life. What a fun time you must have had.

  25. February 13, 2011 10:59 AM

    I love the beautiful plate on which you served your tartare, what a great match in colors! Seeing such a colorful dish makes me wish for summer… which is still so far away! You brought a bit of warmth in my day 🙂

  26. February 13, 2011 3:15 PM

    What a wonderful starter for a very nice get together! I would have happily enjoyed your tuna tartare leftovers. Hehhe. So many of my dishes that I make these days are more “ordinary” and less “elegant” but I would love to wow my family and friends with this tuna tartare or maybe I’ll serve this as a light dinner along with a soup or salad to my husband. He’ll surely be impressed. 🙂

  27. February 21, 2011 8:39 AM

    What a wonderful get together!!! Isn’t it great to find friends through the blogosphere to have delicious get togethers with? Your tuna tartare looks absolutely delicious — if only I lived closer I’d dominate your leftovers 🙂


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