Tuna Tartare with Sesame Tuiles

Tuna tartare, the story holds, was invented in Los Angeles in 1983. Chef Shigefume Tachibe is believed to be the first who came up with the recipe, putting it on the menu at Chaya Brasserie that year as a Japanese-French fusion dish. Chef Shigefume did a good thing that day.

Tuna Tartare with Sesame Tuiles

In a nutshell, tuna tartare (like its meaty cousin) is basically raw tuna steak, chopped up with a few spices tossed in. It's a wonderfully simplistic dish, and making or breaking it all boils down to the ingredients you use.

If you've got good products there's very little that can go wrong here. I found this a lovely way to serve tuna as a starter without heading straight in the sushi direction (and much easier to combine with other courses).

Ingredients (serves 4):
(time: 15 minutes)

Tuna Tartare
350g sushi-grade tuna
1 tsp dijon mustard*
6 capers, very finely chopped
1 tsp chives, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 avocados, diced
3 yellow tomatoes**
zest of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp lemon juice

*If you're not really big on mustard, you can substitute it with some mayonnaise. Some parsley would go well too.
** You can also use red tomatoes, it doesn't matter much for taste. I only chose yellow for the color.

Sesame Tuiles
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature (very soft)
1 egg white
black & white sesame seeds.

1. Start with the tuiles. Trust me, these are much easier than they look. Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius (375 degrees Fahrenheit).

2. Mix together flour, sugar and salt in a medium-sized bowl.

3. Using a spoon, beat the egg white into the flour mixture until smooth.

4. Whisk in the soft butter until the mixtures is smooth. I stuck with the spoon for this and it worked just fine.

5. Take some baking parchment paper and draw circles on it, about 2.5 cm (1 inch) in diameter. Now, spread one teaspoon of batter in each circle. Using the back of your teaspoon, spread the mixture evenly flat over the full area of the circle.

6. Sprinkle each tuile with white and black sesame seeds, then put in the oven and bake for about 5 minutes, or until golden brown.

Now that your tuiles are in the oven, it's time for the tartare.

7. Remove the seed lists from the tomatoes and dice.Set apart.

8. Clean the tuna and dice it finely. Sometimes, this is easier to do if you put the tuna in the freezer for a little while to let it get firmer (but don't let it freeze fully, which would defeat the purpose).

9. Mix the tuna with the mustard, chives, shallot, capers and lemon zest.

10. Chop the avocado and coat it lightly with a little lemon juice.

11. Divide your ingredients over four plates. I layered them (avocado, tomato, then tuna on top) using a chef's ring - one of those metal rings you can pile ingredients into and then lift to remove.


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