(serves 3, or 6 mini portions, or 9 canapes)
This tartare recipe using raw tuna and scallion is a nice fusion cuisine appetizer of my own creation. It merges the Western concept of marinated chopped raw meat with Japanese sushi where raw fish is sometimes served with scallion. I have 2 secrets to making raw tuna delicious. Firstly, adding cooked tuna to your tartare gives it the right bite and texture. Secondly, a creamy frosting made with caramelized scallion and turmeric provides the right balance for the dish.
- Fresh Tuna Fillet (160g)
- Chopped Scallion (1/3 cup)
- Mascarpone (60g)
- White Bread (2 slices)
- Hon Dashi Pellets
- Sesame Oil
- French Mustard
- Dissolve 0/5t of Hon Dashi Pellets in 5T of hot water to make some concentrated tuna stock. Allow to cool.
- Julienne your scallion (aka spring onion) into very fine rings. You are only using the bottom quarter of each scallion stalk, which is the fleshy light green to white part, so keep this in mind when you are buying the scallion. You can keep the leafy part for decoration if you like.
- Cut the tuna into small cubes and then proceed to chop it into a coarse mince. You want to get it down to the level where there are no large chunks but you can still make out individual pieces of fish instead of just mush. At this point reserve 1/4 of the tuna for cooking. Add 1/3 of the julienned scallion to the remaining tuna and finish off with one last round of chopping to mix them properly.
- In a bowl, stir together 2T sesame oil with 1t mustard, 1t port, 0.5t fined ground black pepper and a pinch of salt. Marinate the tuna scallion mince in this and then keep it covered with cling film in the fridge.
- Stir the reserved portion of the tuna into the cold tuna stock. This will stop it from clumping together when it is cooked.
- Fire up a frying pan with a few T of oil. Use a high flame. When the pan is hot, add the ‘wet’ tuna and stir fry. Press down with a spatula to break up the clumps as much as possible. When all the liquid has dried up and the tuna starts to brown, scoop out the tuna and allow it to cool. Mix the cooked tuna into the raw tuna after it has cooled.
- In the same pan, fry the remaining scallion on low heat in a few T of oil. When the scallion starts to caramelize a bit, turn off the heat but leave the scallion in the pan for a further 3 minutes so it can continue to brown. Finally, add 60g of mascarpone (1/4 of a small tub) followed by 0.5t turmeric and a pinch of salt. Stir till everything is evenly mixed and allow to cool in the fridge, also covered with cling film.
- Cut each slice of bread into 3 pieces and grill them in the toaster oven till they are somewhat burnt. Use a knife to scrape away the burnt layer and corners. This will give you a thin hard toast that can support the wet tuna. The scrapings can also be used for decoration if you like.
- Plate the tartare, the scallion cream at the last possible moment so everything remains cold. You can either arrange everything on the toast as I have done above, or leave that to your guests.
- The most important thing to ensure is you have sushi grade tuna, you are after all eating this raw. The translucent bright red cut (Maguro) is sufficient, there is no need to splurge on the fatty belly fillet (Toro).
- The proper way to hand-mince tuna: use a heavy un-serrated knife. Repeatedly hammer down lightly on the tuna with the blade from left to right and then fold the tuna over on itself. Repeat, but at right angles to the first round of chopping. Repeat a couple of times.
- Bread does not cut well after it is toasted so you won’t be able to use a regular toaster. Use the grill in your regular oven if you don’t have a toaster oven. You could also use commercially sold Melba toast I suppose.
- You may also consider layering the tatare and scallion cream in a small glass, with the toast plunged in like a straw.
- If you don’t have Hon Dashi, just make the stock the hard way, by boiling tuna and the left over leafy part of the scallion in salted water.