Food Culture / Recipes

Tuna Tartare

For my tuna tartare, I like to use the mix of akami, chutoro, and toro. If not available, use any sashimi-grade tuna, preferably bluefin.

Maguro is the Japanese term for bluefin tuna, perhaps the best known and most commonly eaten fish in all of sushi dining.

Tuna served in restaurants is generally one of two different species, the bluefin tuna , traditionally known as ‘maguro’, which is usually fairly lean, and the yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares), known as ‘ahi’ (ah-hee), which is a fattier species. Yellowfin tuna may also be labeled ‘maguro‘ but more often than not, if you see maguro it will be bluefin tuna. Tuna sushi is further broken up into subtypes, based on the fat content.

Akami (ah-kah-me) is the leaner meat from the sides of the fish. If you ask for ‘maguro’ at a restaurant, or order any kind of tuna roll or sushi without requesting ‘toro,’ you will get this cut.

Toro (toh-roh) is the term for the fatty part of the tuna, found in the belly portion of the fish. Toro is further broken up into two distinct subtypes, and they are more expensive due to their relative scarcity as a proportion of the entire fish. The two types of toro are:

Chutoro (choo-toh-roh), which is sometimes labeled chu-toro, is the belly area of the tuna along the side of the fish between the akami and the otoro. It is often preferred because it is fatty but not as fatty as otoro.

Otoro (oh-toh-roh), which is sometimes labeled o-toro, is the fattiest portion of the tuna, found on the very underside of the fish. This cut is fatty almost to the point of falling apart and can literally melt in your mouth.

  • To begin, cut tuna in cubes and place tuna in a bowl with a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil (or grapeseed oil), some salt, half of the yuzu or lime juice and/or zest, ponzu, fresh grated wasabi, and chives. Mix gently but thoroughly and chill until needed.
  • Place a ring mould on each plate and fill with tuna. Top with sea urchin, caviar, remove the moulds and garnish with the reserved edible flowers.
About Author

Born in Russia and raised in NYC, I moved to Paris to pursue my gastronomic dreams as well as to meet the city’s most renowned chefs.