12.24.12 Light Fantastic

Tartare 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife
It's a moment for feasting. Wherever we turn, we're inundated with images of glistening roasts and spun-sugar delights—and with the real things, too. No one arrives without a bottle of champagne or a plate of cookies. Fudge abounds. The scent of bacon permeates the air. No wonder we're all bloated and cranky, popping Tums and yearning for naps. Go for it, if you must. But remember, every meal doesn't have to be a pig-out just because "it's the holidays." While everyone else is tempting you with nutella-frosted monkey bread and seventeen-cheese lasagna, I'm going to present you with a lighter option that doesn't skimp on luxurious flavor. It's great cocktail party fare and makes a lovely lunch, or a light supper if you've had an over-indulgent day. Consider it my gift to you.

(And don't forget to leave a comment here to be in the running for my giveaway of three superb spice blends from La Boîte à Epices!)
Tuna 790 xxx
treasure of the deep
It's debatable which chef first made the leap from meat to seafood tartare but in 1986, when Gilbert LeCoze opened Le Bernardin in New York City, he brought his salmon and whitefish tartare recipes with him from Paris. After LeCoze's untimely death, Eric Ripert took over and introduced his tuna tartare, pairing it with Asian flavors in tribute to the Japanese sushi bars he frequented.  I do my own variation on it, but I always serve it with potato chips—Ripert's inspired touch that brings a wonderful salty crunch to the creamy fish. Whatever you decide to add, the most essential ingredient is always the freshest, most pristine tuna you can find.
Sprouts 2 790 xxx
tender greens
I picked up some beautiful sunflower sprouts at the farmers market in Chappaqua and decided to combine them with a little diced avocado and a gingery dressing to go alongside the tartare. You could substitute any microgreens, fresh lettuces or even bean sprouts.
Tartare 2 790 xxx
chicken of the sea
I like to make a creamy, slightly spicy sauce for the tuna by combining mayonnaise (I adore Kewpie), Sriracha and a little yuzu juice (or lime juice). Using a biscuit cutter to mold the tartare (I received this excellent gift from my sister-in-law) makes for a neat and elegant presentation. Scoop it up with a few crisp, kettle-cooked potato chips, feeling virtuous and indulgent at the same time—and totally ready to trip the light fantastic. Merry Christmas, my friends!

Tuna Tartare

serves 2
  • — 1 tablespoon raw sesame oil, or other neutral vegetable oil
  • — 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • — 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • — 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce, or to taste
  • — 1 teaspoon yuzu juice (or substitute fresh lime juice)
  • — 1/2 pound sushi-grade raw tuna
  • — 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • — 1 teaspoon minced jalapeño
  • — 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
  • — 1 tablespoon finely chopped scallion
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • — 1/2 avocado peeled and diced
  • — large handful fresh sunflower sprouts
  • potato chips, for serving

In a bowl, combine the oil and grated ginger and let stand at room temperature while you prepare the rest.

In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, Sriracha and yuzu juice.

Using a very sharp knife, cut the tuna into 1/8" dice. In a large bowl, combine the tuna with most of the mayonnaise sauce plus the cilantro, jalapeño, sesame seeds and scallions. Mix gently and season with salt and pepper. Taste and add more mayonnaise sauce if needed, or a little lemon juice.

Stand a round mold or a biscuit cutter in the center of a salad plate. Fill the mold with tuna tartare, pressing gently. Lift off the mold. Repeat with the remaining tartare.

Toss the avocado and sprouts with the ginger oil and a bit of lemon juice. Pile greens around the tartare. Garnish with a few potato chips.

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this looks gorgeous, laura!! houseguests next weekend... this looks perfect.
cathy on December 24, 2012 at 10:31 pm —
Laura, next time your in 29 Palms, Ca. give me a call............... ONE BIG FAN................. (can't wait to try.............) Your Beloved, DON TRUCK aka DAN TURK
Dan Turk on December 25, 2012 at 10:59 am —
This looks amazing! We have fresh frozen salmon from Alaska in the freezer and I'm wondering if I could make it with that instead of tuna? Thanks so much for all the wonderful ideas, recipes and treats you share with your readers! Wishing you and yours a cozy christmas. XOX
Suzinn on December 25, 2012 at 8:08 pm —
Yes, salmon tartare is also delicious. It's a bit fattier so you may want to sub a lighter dressing, maybe just lemon juice and a little oil—olive or sesame. Thank YOU for all your support! Merry Christmas! xo
laura on December 25, 2012 at 11:23 pm —
Something on the fresh side does sound more then appetizing right now!
alwayshungry on December 28, 2012 at 12:29 pm —