Tuna Tartare on Marinated Cucumbers

| September 11, 2011

Episode 102: Fabulous Fins
Recipe: Tuna Tartare on Marinated Cucumbers

Delicious and attractive, this simple but sophisticated dish makes a great first course. The tartare is served on fresh-tasting mixture of sliced cucumber, vinegar, minced chives, peanut oil, and salt. The tuna is better chopped by hand rather than in a food processor.

Tuna Tartare on Marinated Cucumbers

Serves 4 as a first course

About 1 pound tuna steaks, preferably center-cut bluefin tuna
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large shallot, finely chopped (2 tablespoons)
2 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped (1 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

1 cucumber (about 12 ounces)
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon peanut oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
1 1/2 teaspoons drained capers
About 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Cut 4 small slices (1 ounce each) from the tuna and reserve. Cut the remainder into 1/4-inch dice.

Place 1 tuna slice between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound it into a thin slice about 4 inches in diameter. Repeat with the other 3 slices. Remove the top sheet of plastic wrap from the slices and season them lightly on both sides with salt. Set aside.

Mix the chopped tuna, shallot, garlic, 1 teaspoon of the salt, the pepper, oil, vinegar, and Tabasco in a bowl. (Mixed with vinegar, the chopped tuna will whiten somewhat, becoming opaque. This is because the acetic acid in the vinegar coagulates, thus “cooking,” the protein in the tuna.)

FOR THE CUCUMBERS: Peel the cucumber. With a vegetable peeler, cut long, thin strips from it on all sides until you come to the seeds. Discard the seeds and mix the strips with the vinegar, sugar, oil, and salt.

To serve, divide the cucumbers among four plates. Form the tuna tartare into 4 balls and place 1 on top of the cucumbers on each plate. Wrap a slice of tuna around each tuna ball, sprinkle with the chives and capers, and drizzle with olive oil.

Copyright © 2011 by Jacques Pépin. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.


Category: fish, Recipes, seafood

About the Author ()

I was the Senior Digital Producer for KQED Food up until July, 2018.  Since 2001, I designed, produced, managed and contributed to mostly food-related websites and blogs for KQED including: KQED.org; KQED Food; Bay Area Bites; Check, Please! Bay Area;  Taste This; Celebrity Chefs; seven of Jacques Pepin's TV series websites; and Joanne Weir's Cooking in the City. I initiated the majority of KQED Food's social media feeds and maintained them up until 2017.  As far as content creation,  photography is my passion and I also shoot video and write stories. My photos have been used in articles for KQED Food, News, Arts, and Science as well as for promotional purposes in print and online. Professional education and training includes: clinical psychology, photography, commercial cooking, web design, information architecture and UX.

Comments (2)

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  1. joel says:

    looks and sounds delicious, but couldn’t you sub out for the bluefin tuna? they’re dangerously overfished and near to extinction. salmon or trout would work nicely too, but be better for their sustainability.

  2. Matt says:

    This isn’t the exact recipe that was featured on the television program.
    This has no mention of the caviar that is on top of the tuna tartare.
    Also, this calls for the tartare to be wrapped in a slice of tuna. Clearly pictured, it is actually wrapped with a cucumber slice.
    I suppose it’s possible that Monsieur Pépin has many variations of this recipe.
    Nonetheless, it looks magnificent, and I will attempt it myself one day.