June 7, 2023

Tuna Tartare with Fried Shallots

An Easy Recipe for Dinner, Entertaining, and Vacation


Tuna Tartare

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Tuna Tartare is a rather elegant dish, made from raw sushi grade tuna. It is typically served as an appetizer or a light main course in upscale restaurants. However, it is not too far out of reach for home preparation. In fact, it’s quite simple to make. If you get excited when you see it on a menu, you will be thrilled to learn how easily you can make this dish yourself.


This version of Tuna Tartare is convenient enough to make for company or for a quick dinner idea during a busy week. It is also often on my menu while on vacation in areas with excellent fresh seafood.



1 lb Ahi tuna -sushi grade

1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce

Wasabi paste to taste

Juice from one lime - or to taste.

3-4 tablespoons scallions

1 teaspoon ginger, grated

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 shallot

2 avocados


First, make the sauce by mixing the soy sauce and some wasabi paste. Start with a small pearl size amount of wasabi and taste test until you achieve the level of spiciness that you desire.

Next, add the lime juice, minced scallions, sesame oil, and grated ginger to the soy wasabi combination. A tip for grating ginger is to use a microplane.

Next, lightly coat a sauté or frying pan with olive oil and warm over medium heat. Then peel and slice the shallots. Add the sliced shallots to the warm pan and fry until crispy.

While the shallots are frying, prepare the tuna and avocado. Use a sharp knife to dice the tuna into small cubes. My preference is about 3/4 inch. I don't suggest larger than a 1-inch diced cubed, for the sake of elegance and texture. Place the diced tuna in a bowl. Slice the avocados into small cubes about the same size as the tuna. Place the diced avocado in a separate bowl from the tuna.

Add ¾ of the sauce to the tuna and the remaining ¼ of the sauce to the avocado and toss both well. Keep the tuna and avocado in separate bowls until it is time to assemble the dish in the sauce.

Assemble the tartare. Spoon out a portion of the avocado and plate it, working with your hands to form a small circular layer of avocado. Repeat this and create a layer of tuna on top of the avocado.

To create a more “restaurant look” to the tartare, use a small mold or a ramekin.

To use a mold, add a portion of the avocado to the mold and gently press down to create a level layer. Repeat with the tuna. Remove the mold by lifting it up to reveal the tuna tartare tower.

To use a ramekin, first lightly oil the ramekin using a bit of sesame oil or other neutral oil. Then, add the tuna first and then add the avocado. Flip the ramekin over to release the tartare.

Once the tartare is on the plates, garnish with fried shallots and serve. 

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Note that the oil and lime juice will cook the tuna, so it is best to mix the tuna and the sauce right before serving.

Sometimes I mix the avocado with only lime juice and a small bit of soy sauce rather than all the ingredients. The simple seasoning in the avocado creates a different contrast to the more flavorful tuna. This illustrates how you can play with this recipe. Perhaps one time, you skip the shallots or the scallions. Or use lemon juice instead of lime. So, the next time you see tuna tartare on a menu, make note of new and exciting flavor combinations you can try at home. 

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I often cook "au pif," as we say in France, which means cooking without an exact recipe and by "feel" using your intuition.  You’ll often find guidelines in many recipes versus exact quantities.  Write to me here if you have any questions about the recipes.

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