If you like sushi, ceviche, and poke, you’ll love this Tuna Tartare, just one of several recipes in my appetizers and wine series for TheCookful!
I am an unabashed lover of all things seafood, including raw and raw-ish versions like sushi, ceviche, and poke. There’s something about the simple, clean flavors of those foods, where quality and a minimum of ingredients really shine, that really appeals to me.
So when TheCookful asked me to do this party foods and wine series, I knew I wanted to include a sushi- or poke-like dish. Tuna Tartare is the result.
Making The Tuna Tartare
Any great tuna tartare starts with great tuna. So go to a good seafood store and buy the best they have. How do you know what’s best? Ask. Expertise is one of the things you’re paying for at a good seafood store.
Other indications of high quality are if a seafood is labeled “sushi grade” or if it’s been flash frozen at sea, meaning it was frozen immediately after being caught, preserving freshness and texture. For more about sushi grade fish, here’s a good article from The Kitchn.
About 30 minutes before you want to make your tartare, put the tuna in the freezer. You want it almost frozen but not solid. This step isn’t critical, but it’ll make the tuna easier to dice. In the meantime, get the rest of your ingredients ready—this tartare is “seasoned” with minced jalapeno, chives, lemon juice and zest, olive oil, salt, and pepper—and plan to combine it all soon before you plan to serve it.
Speaking of serving, to make it finger food-y, the tartare is served on potato chips. They also give it a nice crunch to contrast with the soft tuna and add a pop of saltiness. Definitely use ruffle-style chips because they’ll hold up better and longer—they’ll stay crisp for about an hour after they’re topped with the tartare, and will hold together for about an hour and a half.
What Wine Should I Pair With Tuna?
A recipe that’s as light and bright as this one—both in taste and texture—will go great with a similarly light, bright white wine, like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. Raw tuna on its own would be good with this kind of wine, but I’m sealing the deal by adding the bright tickle of lemon, chives, and even the touch of jalapeno. Another recipe in this series that pairs well with light white wine and, so, would be nice alongside is the upcoming Shrimp Scampi Skewers.
For more about what works in food and wine pairing, read my Guide to Pairing Party Food and Wine.
Other Pairings To Consider
You might be surprised to hear this, but a killer food and wine combo is potato chips and sparkling wine. The crunch and the bubbles, the fat and the acidity—they really complement each other. So because this app is served on potato chips, it’d also be good with sparkling wine. Another recipe in this series that pairs well with sparkling wine is my Puff Pastry Tart with Parmesan and Apple.
If you like a lot of jalapeno, the tartare also would go well with an off-dry white like Riesling or Gewürztraminer. I don’t mean a dessert wine, just an off-dry, one that’s only slightly sweet. Why? Because sweetness in wine nicely balances spiciness in food.Print
- 1 jalapeno
- 1–2 lemons, plus lemon wedges for serving
- 8 oz. sushi-grade tuna, finely diced (see notes)
- 2 Tbsp. chopped chives
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- ¼ tsp. salt, or more to taste
- ¼ tsp. pepper, or more to taste
- 24 ruffle-style potato chips (see notes)
- Thinly slice about half of the jalapeno and set the slices aside. Stem, seed, and mince the remaining jalapeno.
- Zest a lemon and set the zest aside. Juice the zested lemon, plus a second lemon if necessary, to yield 2 tablespoons of juice.
- In a large bowl, combine the minced jalapeno, lemon juice, tuna, chives, oil, salt, and pepper. Add more lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste.
- Arrange the potato chips on plates or a platter and top with the tuna mixture, reserved sliced jalapeno, and reserved lemon zest.
- Serve with lemon wedges.
Freezing the tuna for about 30 minutes can make it easier to dice.
The chips will stay crisp for about an hour after they’re topped with the tartare, and will hold together for about an hour and a half.