Yesterday I hit up my local seafood mart and picked up one thick, fresh tuna steak. The goal was to make tuna tartare for dinner one night when my husband would be working late. It didn't occur to me until I already had the tuna in hand that he won't be working late again until Thursday, and by the the tuna will definitely not be fresh enough for tartare. D'oh! So I decided "I'm worth it", and made the tartare for lunch.
I am a self confessed seafood-aholic. I was born and have lived all my life in New England, and some of my fondest childhood memories are based on the time I spent out on the boat with my father, and the time we spent cooking the resultant seafood together. I have always known that I love all types of shellfish. Any way you can prepare them, I'm ready to eat. But actual fish was different. I have never cared for a cooked fillet of fish. It just doesn't dance on my tastebuds. I thought I was a seafood-aholic poser for a long time, until about seven years ago when my sister introduced me to sushi.
Raw seafood and myself are a match made in heaven. I loved sushi from the first bite, and after that, I quickly discovered a whole new world of fish with various raw preparations; carpaccios, tartares, sashimis. I love them all. I might turn my nose up to cooked fish, but I will never say no to it raw. It's a different flavor, a different texture, and a different eating experience all together.
I don't know why it took me so long to decide to try my hand at my own raw preparation of seafood, but I finally bit the bullet yesterday. Tuna is one of my very favorite types of fish, and I thought it would be very hard to screw up. I chose to make a tartare because I enjoy using my knives, and all you really do when you're making tartare is chop, chop, chop. Few things make you feel like a real chef quite like wielding the largest knife you own at the speed of light over a piece of meat until it is pulverized.
To make the tartare:
I started with a red bell pepper. I minced one half of the pepper finely. Then I used half of a small onion, which I also minced finely. I put the chopped vegetables into a bowl together and chopped 2 tbsp of capers to join them. I added 2 tbsp of lemon juice, 2 tbsp of olive oil and some salt and pepper to my bowl and mixed.
Then I got to work on the tuna. I had a half pound steak, and I started by dicing it. Once it was diced, I just ran my knife through it and over it until it was beginning to resemble a paste. Don't be afraid to bring your knife down on your cutting board hard; it just expedites the process. I added my finely, finely chopped tuna to the bowl and mixed well.
I served my tartare on toast points, but you could use any serving vehicle that suits you. Tartare is such a delight to prepare and eat on a hot summer day because it doesn't involve any time in front of a hot stovetop, and it is just a nice, cool, crisp flavor in your mouth. I will definitely be making tuna tartare again.