I have had a few people ask me about my tuna tartare recipe. I thought, I have a few other tartare recipes as well, so why not create an entry dedicated for the best way to appreciate and eat the highest quality ingredients. Aside from the beet entry, this is not a dish that falls within most budgets for large quantities. Certainly, all can enjoy in small quantities, and a little spoonful goes a long way if serving as an appetizer and for special occasions.
A Note on the RAW:
Tartare is raw meat/fish (for the most part) so purchasing the highest quality meat, fish and accompanying ingredients is critical to the success (and healthiness) of these dishes. Talk to your butcher and fish monger to ensure what you are purchasing can in fact be eaten raw (sushi grade for fish). As a side note, while not optimal, if the fish is frozen and you buy it frozen from the fish monger, then its safe for raw consumption as long as you follow proper thawing techniques and serve the day its thawed. You can keep sushi for one day refrigerated after you buy it, but no longer. The same is true for tartare. You can always cook it the next day if desired.
Lastly – when serving, be sure to keep refrigerated just prior to serving and do not leave at room temperature. Plate it on spoons if for a cocktail party so your guests can take the bite at the optimal time/freshness. Any not consumed right away – put them back in the fridge. If you are having a seated dinner, serve plated about 1/2 cup per person (or about 2 oz).
You can also plate it for a buffet table, just place a portion at a time on a plate set atop of a bowl full of ice to keep it cool. If it is out longer than 30 minutes, take it off, cover and put back in the fridge.
That is all I will say on the caution of raw protein. There is plenty of information on the web if you are concerned or need more information on consuming raw meat and seafood.
What is tartare? Raw – not seared – just raw. Carpaccio differs in how you slice it and has minimal other ingredients. Where tartare is finely diced/minced and mixed with a few more ingredients. It is typically formed into a “cake” with a raw quail egg as a topper. The raw yolk really brings soo much to the completed dish. This is optional and you can soft poach the egg first if desired, as long as it is cooled first as to not “cook” the fish/meat.
I provide a few recipes below and there are many others available on the web as well. Some contain acid (citrus, vinegar, wine, etc) and some do not. I like to mix the ingredients together at least a couple hours in advance of serving so as much flavor is infused into the meat/fish as possible. However, a word of caution when using acid. Save this for about 10 minutes before serving. Why? Ever heard of Ceviche? It is a process of cooking fish/seafood without heat. It requires acid (lemon/lime juice, vinegars, etc.).. So if you add an acid too early your tartare it will no longer be a tartare – it will be a Ceviche – i.e.: COOKED. Nothing wrong with it, bet it will taste really good – and you can still serve it – just call it what it is or make something up. No one will know unless you tell them. ; )
Acids are add great flavor – and because of their potency – you can add just before serving obtaining the desired result without cooking the dish.
Don’t be afraid of it – just save it until the end to add it.
Accompaniments – Toast points (bread, crust removed toasted and cut into triangles), Rice Bowl (take sticky rice and form into a bowl), and Cucumber Bowls (1 in high cucumber slices with the seeds scooped out).
Classic Beef TarTare
10 oz Tenderloin (I have also used high quality ground sirloin of beef/buffalo), minced/small dice
1 TBS Dijon mustard
2 – 3 Anchovy filets, minced
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 TBS Capers/Gherkins, minced
.5 TBS mayo
1 tsp Garlic, minced/pureed
1 Egg Yolk in tact per stack (optional)
1.5 TBS Red Onion minced
1 TBS Fresh Parsley minced
Dash of lemon
.5 TBS Olive Oil
Dash or two of Tabasco
- Combine: Mustard, mayo, anchovies, worcestershire, capers, garlic, onion, parsley, oil, lemon and tabasco (all but the tenderloin and egg yolk). Season with pepper and salt (be careful as the anchovies will add salt) if needed. Let sit covered in the fridge until 15 minutes before serving. Can be made a day or two in advance to allow the ingredients to infuse.
- When ready to serve, toss the mayo mixture with the tenderloin, plate and form into a 2in diameter ring, top with egg yolk. Sprinkle with pepper.
Japanese/Sushi Tuna TarTare (AKA Spicy Tuna)
10 oz Sushi Grade Tuna, small dice
1.5 TBS Ginger, minced
1 TBS Garlic, minced
1 TBS Soy Sauce
1 TBS Teriyaki
.5 TBS Rice Wine
2 TBS Scallions/Green onions diced
.5 TBS Sesame Oil/Hot Chile Sesame Oil
2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
Fresh ground pepper
.5 TBS Rice Wine vinegar (to be added last)
Quail Egg yolk in tact (one per serving)
- Mix all except the rice wine vinegar and quail egg. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- About 15 minutes before service, add the rice wine vinegar. Plate the tartare pressing into a 2 in ring mold. Top with raw quail egg if using.
This can also be used as a filling for sushi, or plated onto of rice.
10oz fresh sushi grade salmon (can also use cold or hot smoked salmon), minced/small dice
1 TBS Fresh Dill and a few sprigs for decoration
1 TBS Capers, roughly chopped
1 med shallot minced
1 tsp Olive Oil
1/2 TBS Dijon Mustard
1.5 TBS Creme Fraiche
1 TSP fresh Lime Juice (or lemon)
Quail egg yolk (optional)
** Great with pumpernickel toast points
- Mix creme fraiche, lime juice, mustard, dill salt and pepper. Cover and Chill until just before serving.
- Mix Salmon, capers and shallots. Cover and chill until just before serving.
- About 15 – 20 minutes before serving combine the salmon and creme fraiche mixture and serve. You can form into cakes, top with the yolk of one quail egg and extra sprigs of dill.
Beet “TarTare” (for the Vegans and Vegetarians out there – this is really good)
The beets are cooked, so this isn’t a tartare by definition – however, is made using similar ingredients and preparation. I love it and it is very close in texture and flavor to the beef tartare.
6 medium beets (1 can), coarsely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 TBS finely chopped cornichons (baby dill pickles/gherkins)
.5 – 1 TBS mayo
1 tsp prepared horseradish
2 TBS minced fresh parsley
1 TBS red wine vinegar
1/2 TBS Dijon
1/2 TBS Olive oil
1 TBS Capers, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
- Combine shallots, cornichons, mayo, horseradish, parsley, red wine vinegar (this is where you can add an acid without worry about cooking as the beets are already cooked), dijon, olive oil, capers salt and pepper. Mix well.
- Add in the beets and toss until just mixed. Don’t over mix as you may “crush” the beets.
Plate using a ring mold. Top with a decorative piece of parsley. If you wish, you can use an egg yolk.
- Finely chopped Avocado. This will be great any any of the mixtures and can take place of the egg yolk for texture and will add some good flavor.
- Cilantro instead of Parsley
- Shallots instead of garlic
- Mustard powder or Stone Ground Mustard instead of Dijon
- Kalamata olives (Spanish olives or your favorite olive) instead of anchovies, capers and/or cornichons
- Lime juice instead of lemon juice
- Creme Fraiche / sour cream instead of mayo
- Add red pepper flakes, cayenne or chili oil for a little kick
- Add a touch of curry, cumin, etc for a unique flavor
- Mix in some wasabi
So there you have it. The above recipes will make about 4 decent sit down servings. You can stretch these to go far by plating on a spoon (you can find silver-like plastic spoons that look good at any party store). Instead of 4 servings, the same about can make about 16 – 20 spoons. This also allows you to splurge on the ingredients. As I noted at the beginning, this is not a dish you want to skimp on.. not only for best flavor but also for health reasons. It is best to work with the butcher and fish monger and with a trusted store to get the best quality and safest product to eat raw. The exception to this is the beets. I use the pre-cooked canned beets. You are more than welcome to buy them raw and make them yourself. Roasting may add a more complex flavor profile to the finished product.
Have fun and enjoy. As always, adjust the amounts and seasoning as you go. Taste, taste and taste!