UPC’s Green Olive Tuna Tartar
I LOVE Tuna Tartar. Believe it or not, I love a best-of Tuna Tartar even more than a real top-quality steak tartar! Fortunately for us, we usually don’t have to ask “which one is better,” since there are so few restaurants actually serving both Tuna Tartar and Steak Tartar. No, the more important question is this: “how do I get more of that amazing deliciousness in my life?!?” I find myself asking that, sometimes even out loud, every single time I go to a restaurant who can serve me a Tuna Tartar without soy in it. And I ask the sister-question: “why can’t I just make this myself?!?” even more emphatically when I go to a restaurant that will not guarantee it to be soy-free. Do you know what a colossal let-down it is to get somewhere, find the Tuna Tartar on the menu, and then discover that the kitchen staff indiscriminately sprays everything in the kitchen with their soy-sauce, and that they cannot make this meal without soy for me? Yes, if you’re reading this blog regularly, you probably know exactly how that feels.
Well, this last time was truly the last time!
If that restaurant can make a Tuna Tartar good enough to earn rave reviews, even though they drench it with soy sauce to the point that it can’t possibly have a distinguishable taste, then so can I!!
- 1 lb fresh Tuna Steak (See the Notes on this!)
- 1 12 oz can Green Olives, drained, then crushed or ground
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoon Coconut Oil
- 1 fresh squeezed Lime (will work with lemon)
- 2 tablespoons Anise Seeds, ground
- 1 inch Ginger, diced and ground
- 1 tablespoon Turmeric
- 1 tablespoon Sea Salt
- Optional Spices: Chile Pepper, Paprika (in the Tuna), Fresh Ginger (in the Tuna)
- Carefully dice the Tuna Steak.
- Oil the inside of an approximately 3-cup bowl with the coconut oil. The bowl should have near straight-up sides. This will work just fine with more normal bowls, of course, but it looks great in a bowl with sides that are straight up!
- Put the Tuna Tartar into the bottom of the bowl and pack it in firmly.
- In a Mortar and Pestle (or other grinder) add the anise seeds, lime, and olive oil.
- Grind the anise seeds until they are a lumpy paste-like liquid.
- Add the ginger to the Mortar and Pestle and continue until it is again a lumpy paste-like liquid.
- Add the salt, turmeric (and any Optional Spices) and then the green olives, crushing them and mixing them thoroughly with the spices and flavoring.
- Once the olives are at a similar consistency as the tuna, and thoroughly mixed with the spices and flavorings, spoon that on top of the tuna in the bowl and pack it down firmly.
- Slide a knife down one side of the bowl to help make sure that the tuna will come out of the bowl.
- Place a serving plate upside-down on top of the tuna bowl, then, holding the plate and tuna bowl together firmly, carefully flip them upside down and set them down.
- Tap the bowl a few time to make sure that the tuna came out onto the plate, and remove the bowl.
- Now serve and enjoy!
- Optional Dressings: My wife and I enjoyed this as-is; we also tried it with Coconut Aminos which tasted equally delicious! If you like the soy-sauce experience, I recommend picking up some Coconut Aminos to enjoy this with.
I only buy frozen seafood (unless there's a huge deal). At this point I have come to accept that the frozen seafood is (unless you pick up at the docks) the absolute freshest seafood I can reasonably find. Most frozen seafood is packaged and frozen right on the boats; and the seafood that isn't frozen on the boat is frozen in a packaging facility right at the docks. There's just no better way to ensure freshness than to have it frozen immediately!
Thawing Frozen Seafood:
I leave it in the package in my refrigerator for 24 hours. This keeps the meat fresh, and doesn't allow the fats in the fish to go bad in the warm room-temperature air. If you do this, make sure to eat it once it's thawed!
Grind the spices in a Mortar and Pestle
If you’re in a hurry, a coffee grinder will work just as well for the anise seeds. But if you have the time, there’s nothing quite like the feeling eating a meal where you spent some time hand-grinding the spices. It’s not just meditative and refreshing, it comes with a really profound sense of accomplishment. “I did this” has a whole extra level of meaning when you’re including grinding the spices and hand-chopping the tuna! And that has double-value for hosting! Trust me when I tell you, there are few things in my kitchen which catch more attention than when I’m using my Mortar and Pestle set. Guests absolutely love the “authenticity” of a meal prepared using a Mortar and Pestle, and it really brings them around the kitchen. I’m not sure what it is, but something about using deeply traditional instruments (musical, cooking, etc) really can captivate a crowd! Of course, you have to use them well…
Pack the Tuna in a bowl with straight-up sides.
As I mention in the recipe above, this will work just fine with any soup-bowl or cereal bowl. But growing up Italian I was carefully instructed that food presentation is nearly as important as any other part of the meal. Take your time to do it right, present it with care, and the people you are serving to will always appreciate it. The best you can hope for is that they slow down their meal, appreciate the plate, and end up enjoying their food that much more. But at the very least, you’ll get compliments! People notice when you take the time to make something pretty; and it’s that much more valuable over a great meal!
Slide a knife up one side of the bowl before flipping it over.
Like presentation, this isn’t a deal-breaker. The tuna will eventually fall onto the plate. But the quicker and easier the process is, the prettier your meal is likely to remain once you can serve it. And, not to mention, the quicker you’ll get to the meal!