If you aren't familiar, tartare is basically chopped raw meat that is mixed together with other ingredients and seasoning. You may see steak or beef tartare on menus as well as this gem, tuna tartare. There are two very important things to remember when making this: 1.) Use high-quality, extremely fresh (or frozen from extremely fresh), sushi grade tuna; and 2.) Keep the tuna cold! Room temp raw fish is no bueno.
But don't be freaked out! This dish is SO good, super simple to make and can be a real show stopper for guests or date night, but is easy enough for a weeknight meal (which we eat it as a weeknight meal a lot).
For the last several years I have been getting my tuna steaks from a neighborhood fish market. They were frozen and vacuum-sealed and priced really reasonably which made this and other ahi tuna dinners an economical frequent weeknight meal option. You can also get ahi from you grocery store fish counter, but I find they don't always look to the quality I want them to be for eating raw or seared rare. My advice is be prepared with a back up meal plan in case they don't look great. If you can find them frozen, that is best in my opinion. They are frozen from very fresh and I actually learned that freezing them kills any potential parasites. Let it thaw in your refrigerator the day you plan to make the dish, but no longer than a day. I believe Costco and Sam's Club have frozen, vacuum-sealed tuna.
Once you have a tuna hook-up, you're going to love this meal. There is no actual cooking for tartare, but because you're working with raw meat, get all of your ingredients prepped before you take the tuna out of the fridge to cut it. This ensures you are keeping it cold (aka safe), but then once you start working, the dish comes together in a snap and you'll be sitting down and enjoying it before you know it.
I usually serve mine with fried wonton chips-- I cut wonton squares or egg roll wrappers into triangles and shallow fry them in vegetable oil. You can also serve them with toast point, toasted baguette slices, tortilla chips, or pita. The recipe below serves 2 for a meal or 4 as an appetizer.
This is so yummy. I know you'll love it!
(Eating raw meat does come with risks. I am not a food quality expert, so if you are unsure about the quality of the fish you are working with, don't eat it raw. Do your research on what ahi tuna should look and smell like so you're familiar. Basically, if it smells really fishy, it's probably not good. I am really familiar with tuna at this point and I am very confident in my ability to judge the quality of my fish. I have thrown out a full tuna steak because I didn't trust it after I opened the package.
I found this helpful article for learning about eating raw tuna safely. I encourage you to read it if you're unfamiliar with preparing raw tuna.)
Ahi Tuna Tartare
(Makes ~ 2-4 servings)
1 ahi tuna steak, approximately 1/2 lb.
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 TB soy sauce
6 dashes of hot sauce (like Cholula)
1 jalapeño, minced
1 TB toasted sesame oil
2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds or black sesame seeds (optional)
In a medium to large bowl, whisk together soy sauce, hot sauce, lime zest and juice, and jalapeño. Slowly drizzle in sesame oil, whisking as you do to combine.
Small dice the avocado into approximately 1/2" cubes
Carefully slice tuna into cubes about the same size as the avocado. Use a very sharp knife to avoid tearing the tuna. Do not use a serrated knife.
Add the tuna to the bowl with the soy sauce mixture and very gently stir to coat the tuna in the sauce, being careful not to break or tear the tuna pieces.
Add the avocado to the bowl and again gently toss to combine everything.
Transfer the tartare to a bowl for serving, sprinkle with sesame seeds and enjoy with wonton chips, tortilla chips, etc.!
*Recipe notes + Variations*
Feel free to leave out the hot sauce, though the amount here is very minimal and doesn't add much of a bite.
Same goes for the jalapeño. Or sub something less spicy like 2 TB of a poblano.
Add a touch of wasabi paste for a distinct punch!
You can find wonton or egg roll wrappers in the refrigerated area of your produce section. Cut them into triangles or wide strips and shallow fry them in vegetable oil for a delightfully crunchy edible spoon.