How my friend Quitterie made a better foodie out of me

Tuna tartare

I love raw fish in all its forms, but raw tuna had always grossed me out. Maybe because in my small little mind, fish had no business looking like a bloody piece of meat…

On Saturday, my childhood friend Quitterie and her husband Laurent had me over for dinner. And yes, you guessed it; tuna tartare was on the menu. As I was raised right by my mother and would never dare offend my charming hosts, I mustered up the courage to pick up my fork and dug in…. What a revelation! The silky texture and the mild, delicate taste of that thing… It just melted in my mouth. What a fool I had been all these years.

My friend Quitterie

Now I’m hooked! I went to the market this morning and picked up a slice of Albacore. I invited my friend Segolène to enjoy my new favorite appetizer with me. She LOVED it.

SaladMy friend Ségolène

I prepared the tartare very simply as Quitterie is absolutely right: tuna is not nearly as strong as salmon and one should not season it as much or mess with it in any way.

For two:

  1. Slice a steak of sushi grade tuna in tiny cubes (mirepoix). The steak was the size of my hand and about one inch thick (a cup and a half?)
  2. Add salt, pepper and olive oil
  3. Right before serving, add 1/2 a lemon juice
  4. Serve with a lightly seasoned guacamole made with two small avocados
  5. I also sprinkled some black sesame seeds on top and some Espelette pepper to make the dish even more colorful and appetizing
  6. A bed of greens and a few crackers (plain crackers!!) completed my masterpiece :0)

This is the perfect summer dish! I will always serve this side by side with my salmon tartare. And to top things off, what a healthy thing to eat!

Oh and by the way, I was assured by my fishmonger (whom I really trust) that the tuna was dolphin friendly!!!!! You know I asked :0)

Tuna tartare

 

72 Comments Add yours

  1. I, too, adore a tuna tartare. And good manners paid off for you in a big way, didn’t they? I am so enjoying reading your blog and wallowing in your lovely imagery and words.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I’m so glad you are Barbara. I am so honored that you are taking so much of your time to read my modest articles… 🙂

  2. Miia says:

    Lovely photos!!

  3. Ben Fox says:

    Wonderful imagery. Thank you for liking my most recent post at benafox.wordpress.com – you have a great looking blog and website. I’m very grateful to have been made aware of it.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you very much Ben! I’m glad we’ve found each other’s blogs… Hope you do me the honor of coming back often. All the very best!!

  4. Your photos are simply beautiful!!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you so much Kate! What a nice comment 🙂

  5. dovekeys says:

    Love the photographs! Thanks for dropping by

  6. Oh, how delicious! We’re deep in sashimi-country here, so I definitely eat quite a bit of raw tuna, but that preparation method looks utterly exquisite. I think I have some plans for hot weather dinners, now!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I looooove Japanese food. Anything Japanese in fact. By the way, your blog name is indeed awsome too 🙂

  7. Well I am with you, I have never tried tuna and my mama taught me the same values at the table. I would be in trouble holding it together in front of my hostess…smile. But of course, you would pull through and look at the gorgeous results.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      It was indeed a difficult moment, but so rewarding in the end 😉 🙂

  8. Your photos are beautiful! I love a good tuna tartare.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you so much! I love tartare in all its forms. Fish or beef, it’s always so refreshing and feels so authentic… Thanks for dropping by!!

    2. My French Heaven says:

      It’s truly been my pleasure!

  9. I can’t say I like the texture of any raw meat; be it from fish, fowl, or anything else. Lightly seared on the other hand is usually delicious. I wonder how this would taste made with the cubed tuna tossed in olive oil over high heat and then chilled?

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I thought of that too and I will try soon!

  10. Oh how wonderful! I would love to try it as well. I so enjoy your photos, they bring out the beauty of the people, things and places.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you so much Laila! It means a lot coming from you!

  11. gypsygurl64 says:

    I love your photos and your thoughts! France is one of my favorites!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Oh thank you so so much! It truly means a lot to me 🙂

  12. Conor Bofin says:

    If the fish is good, the tartare will be excellent, for sure. This looks beautiful Stephane.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Conor! Yes, as always, the quality of the ingredients makes the dish

  13. I’m doing my part to save fish by not eating raw fish at all. 🙂 The more for the rest of you, with my compliments.

    janet

    1. My French Heaven says:

      🙂

  14. mariekeates says:

    I’ve never tried raw tuna. Maybe I should 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You really should Mary. It’s delicious! 😉

  15. Amanda says:

    Beautiful. I do love a tuna tartare, but I’m always afraid i’ll poison myself. I need to have a very trust worthy fish monger.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      The lemon juice limits the risk… 😉

  16. Angeline M says:

    Isn’t it amazing to find something like this you have been avoiding for so long? I did this with my mother and grandmother’s recipe for fried oyster turkey stuffing. I always regret the years I did not eat it. I will definitely have to try this tuna tartare!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I’ll have to try the stuffing. I had heard about it before and it sounds delish!

  17. This looks really delicious. 🙂

  18. Very good dish, indeed….beautifully photographed….

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you kindly Roger!!

  19. Very big fan of raw tuna and this is a divine presentation. On the chalkboard menu!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Perfect! 😉

  20. Nice post and I love how you presented your tartare. You have lovely friends, I can tell. We buy sushi grade salmon quite often but have not ventured into tuna. I will make sure to buy albacore next time and make your tartare. And I’m with you on only buying “friendly” fish.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Yes, the food industry is quite an ugly monster, and although we can’t always afford to stand for our beliefs and what is right, I think we should always at least try 😉

  21. I have had raw tuna in sushi, spicy tuna roll but never like that. I will admit I have a tough time with raw seafood, never tried sashimi and I will admit I have never done even a ceviche (I know the acid cooks the seafood) but to me it’s still raw. You have inspired me to maybe give it a try. It does look beautiful and I do imagine it being delicious.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      From personal experience, I truly understand how you feel. It’s not just the way raw seafood looks and might taste, it’s also the fear of getting sick that we have to get over. My advice is to find the best possible Japanese restaurant you can and dare to try one new dish… You might hate it, you might love it, but at least you’ll have tried 😉

  22. pinkagendist says:

    The other day I was at a reception and they were serving tuna tartare on a mini rösti with a dollop of wasabi sour cream on top- divine. I considered asking the boy to just discretely lay the tray down near me and walk away 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      HAHAHA!!! I would have done the exact same thing. Whenever there is a cocktail party, it’s like I was tied to the tray of foie gras with an invisible chain 😉

  23. Tuna is just about the only seafood I will eat. But I must admit even that is a stretch because it is always canned tuna fish and not probably considered real fish!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Don’t worry my dear. The menu I have planned for you is more meat oriented and certainly more representative of the products of our region: duck, beef, ceps, butter and cream…

  24. ladyredspecs says:

    We indulge in a sashimi meal every week we are such big fans, the freshest of fresh tuna almost melt under the pressure of your tongue and the roof of your mouth, i’m salivating just thinking about it. More gorgeous pics!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      🙂

  25. As always your tartare looks absolutely divine Stephane It was a revelation for me many years ago when I first tasted tuna sashimi style in Japan. Not by choice but out of politeness. I absolutely adore it now in any form sashimi, ceviche, tartare and carpaccio. If you love raw tuna you must try raw sea scallops very thinly sliced into wafers. They are out of this world prepared this way.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I had raw scallops before as a carpaccio with olive oil and raspberry vinegar. It was divine!

  26. Raw tuna is the best! How did you feel about cooked tuna before your revelation?

    I make raw fish salad with tuna, though it is usually made with a white fish. While I prefer raw salmon to raw tuna, good tuna has this light butteriness that is completely different to cooked tuna. Mmmm…my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I never cared for cooked tuna and I still don’t. However I’ve tried to cook it in the past, it always comes out super dry. I guess the only way would be to just sear it for a second on each side. It would be like having it raw with a slightly different taste and texture. It also gives it an interesting look…

  27. OOH LA LA that looks delish!
    Tuna tartare is one of my absolute favorites – but I have not served it in lettuce – so lovely for a party! Merci beaucoup!!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You are most welcome. A stylish dish for a stylish Diva. A match made in heaven 😉

      1. I may have to borrow that INCREDIBLE line! 🙂

  28. scolgin says:

    As a regular consumer of raw tuna, I say, “Bravo Quittterie!”

    1. My French Heaven says:

      😉

  29. sabine says:

    The recipe is impossible not to like, so simple & wonderful!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I feel simple is often best 🙂 Thanks for visiting again Sabine!

  30. juliabarrett says:

    Ah! My husband and my children love tuna tartare! Unfortunately I’m allergic. But I can eat salmon tartare – so delightful!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Salmon tartare is also one of my favorites! 😉

  31. chef mimi says:

    I’m so glad you tried it! I love it, but have never made it at home…

  32. Hello Stephane,

    It is so true that we hold prejudices for so many things so close to our hearts that we cannot even recognise them as such. Indeed, as with all prejudices, they should be challenged and how better to do this in the case of food than trying the taste out in the company of good friends with a delicious drink as an accompaniment.

    We have to admit that we generally shy away from raw fish and have never tasted Tuna tartare but, we take your word for it, that we have missed a trick. The presentation of the dish looks perfection here. Well, never say never, we must now give it a go!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You really should! It is heaven! So fresh and tasty and pretty to boot…

  33. Tuna tartare is great! Especially when the tuna is very fresh… Glad you discovered this, too.
    PS I think you meant brunoise instead of mirepoix?

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Brunoise is 2mm, mirepoix is 1cm. It’s been 20 some years since I left Paul Bocuse’s Culinary Institute, but I still remember my basics 😉 Actually, these were closer to a macedoine cut at about 8mm

      1. Interesting. I never knew that mirepoix could also mean a size. According to Wikipédia: “La (ou le) mirepoix est une préparation à base d’oignons, carottes et céleri, d’aromates et parfois de jambon ou de lard, taillés en petits dés et rissolés ; elle est généralement servie en assaisonnement des soupes, viandes ou poissons.”

        1. My French Heaven says:

          I never trust Wikipedia. I understand French isn’t an easy language and often one word can be used in several ways. A mirepoix is cut at a specific size and that’s why we use the same word to define a certain way of cutting just about anything. That is also why we say “couper EN mirepoix” instead of “couper UNE mirepoix”. Don’t worry, I’m 43 and I still can’t fully master the language 😉

  34. Your posts are getting prettier and prettier.. This one is divine for sure..
    XO
    Jan

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you so much dear Jan! Any plans of visiting France again soon?

  35. Good on your friends to open you up to it! There is a legend in my family that one of my great grandfathers never ate a banana until he was 85 thinking he didn’t like them… and then instantly regretted not having enjoyed them all his life. Now see, you can make it often. 😉 Is the tuna in the photo prepared by you or your friend? It looks delicious.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Sofia! Yes, this is my handy work 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      It was really delicious! 😉

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