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July 25, 2006

Tartare Trio

After bringing my piscine bounty home from Mitsuwa on Sunday, I wanted to have a little fun. So I finally got around to trying out a recipe that had been rattling around in my skull for a while. The hamachi is inspired by Nobu, the tuna is inspired by Sea Saw, and the salmon is a little something I threw together for Iron Chef Peach. It's a lot of work, but it isn't difficult. I've broken down the ingredients by tartare so it's easy to do just one if you like. In truth, this recipe could probably still use a little fine tuning. But knowing myself the way I do, if I don't post it tonight, it'll probably be six months before I get around to it again. So here it is... taste and adjust, taste and adjust! As a final note that hopefully goes without saying, when dealing with raw fish be absolutely certain you're getting it from a really good source that specializes in sashimi-grade product, or you're asking for a world of hurt. Don't let it sit. Keep it cold, even sticking it in a cooler with ice on your trip home if need be. I'm fairly cavalier when it comes to food safety (a fact that I'm sure comes as a great comfort to all of my past and future dinner guests), but this is one area where I don't screw around.

Dominic Armato
4 oz. sashimi grade tuna
1 small beet
1 C. red wine
1 tsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tsp. finely minced fresh ginger
2 tsp. tamari soy sauce
1 tsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. mirin
1 Tbsp. chopped chives
4 oz. sashimi grade hamachi
1 avocado
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 jalapeño
2 tsp. tamari soy sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. fresh lime juice
1/4 C. shiso chiffonade
4 oz. sashimi grade salmon
1 white peach
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. thinly sliced green onion
1 Tbsp. finely minced fresh ginger
1 tsp. tamari soy sauce
1 tsp. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. minced fresh cilantro

Tartare Trio
Tuna with Beets and Wine Reduction
Hamachi with Avocado and Jalapeño
Salmon with Peach and Ginger
Serves 8-10 as an appetizer

The beet takes the longest to prepare, so get that going first. Preheat your oven to 350º. While it's heating, clean and scrub the beet, leaving the skin intact. While it's still wet, wrap it in aluminum foil and toss it in the oven. Roast it for 60-90 minutes, until it's easy to poke a fork through the foil and right into the tender beet. Once the beet is done, remove it from the foil and, once it's cool enough to handle, peel it and chop it into small cubes about 7-8mm on a side. Save about 6 Tbsp. of the chopped beets, and chow on the rest. While the chopped beet is still warm, toss it with 6 tsp. of the beet dressing. Of course, to do this, you need to make the dressings.

For all of the dressings, this recipe makes more than you'll need, but they're easier to make in slightly larger batches. To make the dressing for the tuna and beets, put the red wine and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and reduce down to about 2 Tbsp. Transfer the wine reduction to a mixing bowl and allow to cool slightly. Add the vegetable oil, ginger, soy sauce, rice vinegar and mirin, then give the whole mixture a good whisk and combine with the beets as detailed above. Move the beets to the fridge so they get nice and cold. To make the dressing for the hamachi and avocado, stem, seed and quarter the jalapeño lengthwise. The heat is in the white ribbing, so if you want the flavor without the heat, remove the ribbing, and if you want the abuse, leave the ribbing intact. Either way, slice the jalapeño quarters the short way, paper thin, so that you end up with a tablespoon or two of very thin jalapeño quarter circles. Whisk the jalapeño together with the vegetable oil, soy sauce, sesame oil and lime juice, and toss them in the fridge to chill. As for the peach dressing, whisk together the vegetable oil, green onion, ginger, soy sauce, lime juice and rice vinegar and... you know the drill.

While the beets and dressings are chilling, chop up the fish and other ingredients. The degree to which you want to chop the fish is purely a matter of personal preference. Some like a heavily chopped almost pasty tartare, but I like more of a fine dice, which leaves some of the original fish texture intact. I slice it into small cubes, about 7-8mm on a side, and do the same for the accompanying avocado and peach. You'll want about 6 Tbsp. of the peach and about 1/4 C. of the avocado. Also, now's a good time to chop your chives, mince your cilantro and slice up your shiso chiffonade. For the chives, I like to use little bits about 1cm long. To get a nice shiso chiffonade, wash and dry the shiso leaves, stack them on top of each other, roll them into a fairly tight tube and then thinly slice the tube.

So at this point, your beets are dressed and chilled, your other dressings are chilled, your fish is chopped, your avocado and peach are chopped, and your fresh herbs are all ready. Time to throw everything together. Add the tuna and chives to the dressed beets and toss. Combine the hamachi, avocado, 4 tsp. of the jalapeño dressing and shiso, and toss gently to combine so that the avocado doesn't turn to green mush. Toss the salmon together with the peach, cilantro and 5 tsp. of the green onion and ginger dressing. And here's the most important part... taste and adjust. Tartares like this are all about balance, and even if this recipe were perfectly balanced (which it isn't), your ingredients are slightly different than mine, and will require a little adjustment. If you're feeling a little intimidated, don't be. Trust your instincts. And if you don't, set a little spoonful aside to test any adjustments before you add something to the whole batch. Plate the tartares in some fun fashion, and serve 'em up.


This makes me very happy. I'm definitely doing this the next time I pick up sashimi from Mitsuwa. Do you think the salmon would work with a regular peach? I only ask because I have a whole box of Harry & David peaches coming my way in the near future.

I'm sure it would work, but I think there's enough of a difference that the white would be preferable. It's just a cleaner flavor, which I think suits the raw fish. Of course, I also suspect that a great yellow peach would probably be better than a mediocre white peach, so there you go :-)

This makes me hungry already,
Do you think the salmon would work with a regular peach?
Nice info

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