To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.
~François de La Rochefoucauld

Yes, I have written about tuna more extensively in a post entitled Ahi “Nicoise” dated May 13, 2010 — look at the search box.  But, please abstain in devouring blue fin tuna as it appears low in numbers.

Then again, earlier (February 7, 2009) there existed here a post about ubiquitous steak tartare — although sublime, but with the firm texture of this finfish, tuna tartare is sapid, damn near nympholeptic.  This does not imply that steak tartare is equally divine, as both are toe curlers.  But, it is a cooling, light, dainty often app repast with tuna diced into chunks and fluidly soothed by Asian flavors (as below) in a chilled vessel, a dish which really did not emerge until recently about 3-4 or so decades ago…perhaps in Paris by a Japanese born, yet French trained, chef by the name of Tachibe — who knows?

A chilled dry white (preferably one that is French oriented or sauvignon blanc) or rosé is essential as quaff.

1/4 C canola oil
2 t grated fresh ginger, with some small chunks retained

1 – 1 1/3 lb sashimi (perhaps sushi) grade tuna, diced into 1/4″ pieces

1 t jalapeño, minced with seeds and veins removed
1 1/2 t wasabi powder
1/2 t mirin
1/2 t saké
1 t sesame seeds
1 T scallion, finely chopped
1 1/2 T lime juice
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Non-pareil capers, rinsed
Caviar

In a bowl, add the ginger and chunks for a few hours to allow to marinate some in the frig.

In a large glass chilled bowl, add tuna to ginger oil as well as small ginger chunks, the cilantro, jalapeño, wasabi, mirin, saké, sesame seeds, scallions, lime juice, then mix well with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Using fingers, very slightly strew over the tuna tartare with capers and then caviar.

Serve on chilled shallow glass salad bowl(s) over some flared avocado slices or cilantro or watercress, something like that or those kith and kin.

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Steak Tartare

February 7, 2009

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.
~Harriet van Horne

V Day even rawer.

Steak tartare, the classic chopped raw beef dish topped with a raw egg, brings on images of Parisian bistros. A bistro is a familiar name for a café serving what used to be moderately priced simple meals in an unpretentious setting.

The word allegedly derives from a Russian word быстро (bystro) which means “hurry.” Cossacks, who occupied France after the Napoleonic Wars, frequently demanded that French waiters serve their food promptly, shouting the word that evolved into “bistro”.

This romantically induced etymology has been disputed over the years. Cossacks did occupy Paris in 1815, but the first recorded use of the word “bistro” appeared in 1884, almost 70 years later. So, the numbers are not supportive. Another possible source for the word could be bistraud, a word in the Poitou dialect which means a “lesser servant.” Yet another theory offered comes from the word bistouille or bistrouille, a colloquial term from the northern regions of France, which is a mixture of brandy and coffee. Bon matin!

STEAK TARTARE

12 oz fresh cut, organic beef tenderloin
4 t shallots, finely diced
4 t cornichons, finely chopped
3 t capers, drained and rinsed
2 t Dijon mustard
2 anchovies, salt packed, rinsed, cleaned and finely chopped
2 t chopped parsley

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
6 fresh organic, free range egg yolks

1 baguette or other artisanal bread such as ciabatta, toasted
Extra virgin olive oil
1 plump, fresh garlic head, cut crosswise

Trim the beef of any fat and connective tissue and set aside. Chill the beef while preparing the remaining ingredients.

With a wickedly sharp knife, cut the beef into julienne strips, and then cut across into a very fine dice. Continue chopping over the pile some until the meat appears roughly ground.

With a fork, combine the chopped beef with the shallots, cornichons, capers, mustard, anchovies, parsley, some salt and pepper to taste. If needed, add a tablespoon or more of olive oil.

Serve in mound like in the center of the plate, making a well in the center filled with an egg yolk. Spread the tatare over toasted baguette slices which have been drizzled lightly with olive oil and rubbed with garlic heads.

Fine friends: French burgundy or California pinot noir