Asian Tuna Tartare over Seared Scallop

17 05 2010

Tuna Tartare, what is it exactly? Well, in a nutshell it is chopped raw tuna mixed with various items and served raw. It is not sushi because there is no rice. Sushi actually refers to the special rice, not raw seafood. It is not sashimi, which does refer to raw fish, but is usually served only with a dipping sauce. The tartare moniker probably comes from steak tartare, which is usually raw beef prepared sometimes with an egg, sometimes without and marinated in wine or citrus juice, or both. The derivation of word tartare as it applies to this dish is not entirely clear. Yes, Mongol horsemen referred to as “Tartars” or “Tatars” did put meat under their saddles. No, they never ate the saddle meat; it was used to treat any sores their horses had acquired (like a steak on a boxer’s black eye). The term as used gastronomically appeared in Europe, and specifically in Paris, in the early 1900’s. Interestingly, steak tartare was described as a variant of steak a la Americaine in Escoffier’s Le Guide Culinaire published in 1921. Steak tartare was prepared as steak a la Americaine (raw ground beef) but without the egg yolk and served with tartar sauce. Maybe it is a barbarian dish after all.

Regardless, try this tuna variation only if you have access to verifiably fresh never frozen tuna. The other half of this dish is a simple seared sea scallop. A properly seared scallop is cool in the middle, almost sashimi style in the center. This combination of elements complement each other nicely and subtlety. It is a great summer dish when you are looking for a little, light meal or appetizer.


  1. 3 Tbs sesame oil
  2. 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  3. 1 tsp chopped garlic
  4. 1 tsp soy sauce
  5. 3 Tbs finely chopped cilantro
  6. 1 tsp minced Thai chili (dried is fine)
  7. ½  teaspoons wasabi powder
  8. 2 Tbs chopped Bok Choy
  9. 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
  10. 2 Tbs lemon juice
  11. 2 Tbs blood orange juice
  12. 8oz fresh sushi-grade tuna
  13. Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  14. Sea scallops
  15. 3 Tbs olive oil


  • In a bowl, combine the first 11 ingredients.  
  • Chop the tuna into about 1/8 pieces, do not cut the tuna into a paste.
  • Add the tuna to the bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat the olive oil to smoking in a sauté pan over a high heat.
  • Season the scallop, and then sear each side.
  • Pack the tartare into a small mold that will fit over the scallop (I use a ¼ cup measuring cup).
  • Place the tartare over the scallop, garnish and serve immediately.



6 responses

17 05 2010

beautiful dish! it looks so rich and decadent (I feel like I keep saying “decadent” when I am here)

17 05 2010

@DB: That’s a good thing;-)

17 05 2010

Now that is a stack of goodness 🙂 I am ready for scallops and tuna again!

Chef E

17 05 2010

Oh and I wanted to say “Now that is a poetic duo”…

17 05 2010

Beautiful dish! But can we cook the fish a tiny bit? and keep everything else the same?

18 05 2010

@Joumana:Cook as you like! I’m just such a sushi/sashimi guy;-0

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