In recent years raw fish has become more and more popular in Europe and America. First with the advent of sushi in the ’70s which slowly became more and more popular, until it completely took over the world food scene really fast in the early 2000s. Nowadays it’s even easier to find a sushi restaurant than a Pizzeria. Ok maybe not so much, but still.
In the last couple of years instead I’m seeing more and more on Instagram the Poke bowls: salad bowls with raw tuna or salmon cut into blocks. It seems to be something so exotic and innovative that everybody wants to try it and photograph it.
Many years ago raw fish was unthinkable in our traditional cuisine. Until the asian and exotic food styles opened our minds and tastebuds to new possibilities. There is a simple dish among all which has been absorbed by the cuisine of France, Italy and so on. You can find in almost every fish restaurant: it’s Tuna Tartare.
Tuna tartare was firstly made by chef Shigefumi Tachibe in 1984. He was working in Chaya Brasserie (Los Angeles) when 5 customers asked for a beef tartare. Except one of them didn’t eat meat. So the chef quickly put together the tuna tartare as the tuna meat is similar in consistency to the beef.
My tartare is fancied up with lime zest and juice for the marinade and spring onions, that gives it an extra kick.
Many restaurant pair the tuna tartare with many spices and fruits (like peaches or strwberries) for a modern twist, but I appreciate more the semplicity of flavors. This is still my favourite version as it balances perfectly sweetness, saltiness and acidity.
I served this appetizer in various occasions, mostly for holiday meals if we choose a fish menu and I usually serve it in a tiny glass as an amuse-bouche because I prefer more a variety of small appetizers rather than a big one. With this recipe you’ll be able to make 2 big tartare or 4 small ones.
Finely dice the tuna and slice the spring onion very thin.
Combine in a bowl with salt, lime zest and juice.
Let marinate at least 1 hour before serving.
Serve in individual glasses or on a plate pressing well in a food ring mold.
Decorate with edible flowers or edible sprouts.