I took this picture when I made it for a date one evening. I had about 10 minutes to throw it together.
The first time I ever tried tuna tartar was when I worked as a line cook for Hotel Icon. We had a “substitute” executive chef temporarily step in as a result of my previous chef, Michael Kramer, resigning. For the life of me, I can’t remember our “substitutes” name, but he was the executive from our California location and pretty frigging cool. It was obvious that he was still a little green, but still, a real chefs creativity comes from within, and his came with power and force.
It was a slow day and we were all taking our time prepping for the dinner shift. Our sub came over to my station carrying one of our large stainless steel mixing bowls and a tasting spoon peeking up from the rim. “Taste it”, he says. With my oh so lovely wusthof knife in hand, I glance up, then peek down into the reflective sides of the bowl. All I saw were tiny bits of what looked to be raw cut up fish. I had eaten sushi before but this was not pretty. It was undressed and in a small messy lump. With hesitation, I took the spoon in my hand and poked around until I found a satisfyingly small piece to scoop into my mouth. I did not accept this onto my tongue with prejudice or negativity, but with intrigue and curiosity. As my taste buds began to pinpoint all of the different flavors I was savoring, I was left in amazement. It was so clean, yet so flavorful! How was this accomplished?
This one simple dish opened a new door to my culinary creativity. Here is my take on an Asian Style Tuna Tartare:
1 cup sushi grade tuna
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp teriyaki marinade
1/2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp green onion sliced
1/2 tsp white sesame seeds
1/2 tsp black sesame seeds
In a non reactive bowl, combine all ingredients well. And…YOU’RE DONE! That was ridiculously easy, wasn’t it? Just dress up with some avocado and cucumber and magnific!
I made this for an interview at Cullen ‘ s for the “salad” portion of my stage, along with a chipotle sweet potato mash, and medium rare ribeye with a raspberry puré. Oh, I forgot to mention, I adore working the grill! It’s always been my favorite station in the restaurants. This particular stage was funny because as I was grilling the steak, a line cook walked up to me snickering. I looked up, tongs in hand as I marked my protein. “Are you going to be working in the kitchen? ” he giggled. I raised one brow to him, wondering if there was something humerus about that. “Maybe. I don’t know yet.” He put his hands to his mouth and giggled more. “Seriously? ” he asked. My patience were beginning to wear. ” why is that so funny?” His response, “we’ve never had a girl working the grill before!” …..seriously? ? That was too funny. Nevertheless, I was offered the position.