Ahi Tuna Tartare w/ Avocado, Crispy Shallots & Soy-Sesame Dressing

That’s what happens when you’re not allowed to take your Legos to work. My goal was to make an exact replica of the Eiffel Tower using only tuna tartare, avocados and fried shallots but after a few miserable attempts i had to give-up. I made a pitiful two-story building instead. Pffeww, shameful i know… but quite tasty though! It was inspired by the Tuna tartare served at BLT steak in NYC.

Anyway, if i’m not posting too much these days it’s because i’m busy figuring-out the logistic of a few fancy dinner parties but i have to make sure you don’t starve when visiting my blog. So come to the table and let’s have this light classic appetizers together. The freshest Ahi tuna, a ripe avocado, some crispy shallots and a great dressing made with soy sauce, mirin, hot sesame oil and honey.

Ahi Tuna Tartare w/ Avocado, Crispy Shallots & Soy-Sesame Dressing
(serves 6)
Inspired by Chef Laurent Tourondel of BLT.

For the tartare:

  • 20 ounces fresh Ahi Tuna, cut into small dice
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 ripe Hass avocados, peeled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt & freshly ground pepper

For the crispy shallots:

  • canola oil for frying
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • sea salt

For the dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon hot sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Make the tartare: Toss the tuna with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss the avocado with lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
  • Make the crispy shallots: Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Toss the shallots in the flour and fry for 45 seconds, or until golden brown. Remove the shallots with a fine mesh strainer and drain on paper towels. Season with salt.
  • Make the dressing: Whisk together all the ingredients.
  • To assemble: Mold the avocado using a 3-inch tartlet ring. Mold the tuna tartare on top of the avocado and finish with the crispy shallots. Lift off the ring and drizzle the dressing around. Serve with potato chips or thin slices of toasted bread. Enjoy!

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  • Manggy

    Not just any 3-inch tartelette ring, it appears! A freaking cubic one! That is just fantastic, Zen-man. It looks like a million bucks!

  • Jenny

    It’s so pretty! What a nice fancy appetizer. Enjoy the Hamptons and good luck with your newest project. We’ll look forward to the pics!

    This really is picture perfect!

  • FranMag

    Forget appetizer, can I have a dinner-sized one of those? 5″x8″ should do nicely. :-)

  • Mochachocolata Rita

    nice presentation mr fancy pants, this is much more zen than the eiffel tower

    and having seen countless dragon and phoenix statues carved out of TOFU, i can confidently say i love ur cube more 😉

  • Mia King

    Wow, this looks fantastic. Love, love, love everything about this dish, including the gorgeous presentation. Looking forward to the day when we can send food from one place to another in an instant — I would be all over this one!

  • Clumbsy Cookie

    You poor little (yeah right…) french working boy (cof cof)! I’m glad you finally came to fed us, I was starving man! Love the perfect square, it’s so beautiful it even looks like a dessert!

  • Claude-Olivier

    je ne sais pas si tu sais, mais je suis tuna-addicted, alors tu penses bien qu’avec une recette comme ça je me mets dans tous mes états…le tout avec un Don pérignon, t’en penses quoi ? 😉 ciao

  • Mary Coleman

    Leave it to you to make something like this. It is absolutely fabulous. I can’t wait to make this!
    You’re brilliant! And I agree, this is much more zennish than the tour eiffel.

  • Darius T. Williams

    No thanks on the tartare – but yes on the presentation. that presentation is absolute killer. I’m just not the tartare kinda guy. But again, great presentation.


  • K and S

    looks delish!

  • Stacey Snacks

    I will be in the Hamptons this weekend as well, and I am not invited to the party! boo hoo!
    This tuna dish is beautiful, I will attempt it, but I don’t have high hopes. What a masterpiece!
    Stacey Snacks

  • Uncle Dee

    this is some glorious food porn my man. In fact, the eiffel should look like that.

  • Mike of Mike’s Table

    Aside from how delicious this sounds, that is a really interesting presentation. This look sgreat and I hope you enjoy the time off!

  • [eatingclub] vancouver || js

    Wow. I am left speechless at the sheer gorgeousness of that dish. Tuna tartar with crispy shallots? You rock! You know, in my mind, these are the dishes that I make, so beautiful and elegant. Of course, my reality is very different. 😉

    Great stuff!

  • Chicopea

    Am I seeing double? This is color coordinating with the lychee tart, how groovy! I love the perfect square structure and colors, its way prettier than the Eiffel. Don’t forget to invite us to the dinner parties next time;)

  • Helen

    ooh, and it’s like a little neat square and everything! Oh you are clever.

  • Elle

    Zen, it’s gorgeous! And I’m starving.

    Have fun in the Hamptons!

  • TavoLini

    goodness!! That is so pretty, I’d be reluctant to eat it!

  • Olga

    It looks beautiful. I want some right now!!!

  • Shannon and Scott

    I’ve about died and gone to heaven. That looks gorgeous, too bad I have no idea where to get sushi grade ahi tuna where I live. :(

  • My Sweet & Saucy

    That has to be one of the most beautiful appetizers I’ve ever seen! Simply stunning!

  • Bentoist

    Hi there, I stumbled across your picture on foodbuzz and I have to say, That looks absolutely gorgeous and I would so eat it.

  • Cathy – wheresmydamnanswer

    Wow now that is a keeper – I love everything about this one and the shape is great –

  • Gloria (Canela)

    Is absolutely nice and lovely chef Zen. I love it!! Gloria

  • Cindy. Lo.

    Zen man, don’t tell me that you even have to work during Labor Day weekend?!?

  • Anonymous

    hey i found you on tastespotting and i LOEVLOVELOVE your recipe. a+, i will most def. be trying this ^__^;;

  • cakebrain

    Yowsers, that’s a drool-worthy dish! Your plating is so beautiful!

  • Nina’s Kitchen (Nina Timm)

    Awesome stuff Zenman. This is just beautiful. Good luck with all the new projects….

  • waliz

    who wants penthouse anyway…i like simple and good man..that will be enough for me..*wink*

  • Ann

    Completely beautiful, zen-man! Have fun in the Hamptons!

  • AzAzura

    That’s a gorgeous tartare.I know I used the word LOVE a lot in your blog but Ahi tuna and anything pricey and posh deserves lots of lovin.Enjoy your Hamptons stay and I’ll be here feeling all jealous.
    When it comes to think about it Ahi and avocado really compliments each other..I might also make like a trio of tartare with some mashed edamame in mind.xx

  • Dhanggit

    Wow!! YOu really have the skills of a three starred Michelin Guide Chef!! This is so beautiful and elegant Zenchef!

  • Adam

    Zen Dude, you’re right… we are starvin marvin over here. I think your pastel colored Lego dish looks great. It’s got some beautiful color with some crunch. Which is exactly how I like my women. Wait what the heck did I just say?

  • chicky*bits

    this is absolutely GORGEOUS. the colors, the shapes, the textures, wow!!

    *almost* too good to eat 😉

  • acey

    wow!!! it’s beautiful! and i love fish and avocados! i can’t imagine both–it must be bliss!!!

    (sorry for all the exclamation marks!)

  • Lando

    Tuna Tartare is one of my favorites. I always wanted to attempt doing it at home. Now I can. Awesome recipe.

  • We Are Never Full

    That’s exactly what I was thinking as I stared at that picture – “miserable two story tower”. you crazy.

    that looks beautiful – almost too pretty to eat (except if you’re me!).

  • Nicole

    This is the type of dish that makes me feel I have died and gone to heaven! I am catching flight tonight expecting to land in Albany. Maybe I can persuade the pilot to drop my off in NYC to eat this instead!!!!

  • glamah16

    Delightful. Stay graceful under all that pressure.

  • sweetsandsweats

    Oh my god, that is simply stunning.

    I would have died and gone to heaven if I ever get served a tartare that looks that gorgeous.

    That photo is what I call food porn at it’s finest.


  • cakewardrobe

    Oh no! Who's going to entertain me at work while you're gone!? I <3 when you make Asian influenced dishes but it makes me feel uh less asian.

  • Tartelette

    Will you marry me…oh crap…how many times have I said this while visiting your blog?!!! C’est vraiment trop bon et je paris que c’etait bien bon!!

  • white on rice couple

    Let me be the earthquake to bring your two story tower down….straight into my mouth! yum!
    If your beautiful creation is an example of a dish gone wrong, then you are a friggin amazing chef! I think it looks awesome and can’t imagine where to start to create an eiffel tower! You’re crazy!

  • Tom Aarons

    What wonderful and beautiful colors! Wow. So impressed!

  • Colloquial Cook

    Salut mon ptit chat! Moh si, on la reconnaît tout de suite la tour Eiffel. On s’attendrait presque à voir des Japonais faire la queue dans l’assiette.
    C’est très ravissant, ton dishing style. You’re an artist darling.

  • So Simple

    That Tuna tartare looks superb. along with everyone else…love the presentation

  • Heather

    That is just lovely, M. Zen. I need to hurry up and get rich enough to have a cute Frenchman be my personal chef.

  • bethany

    Another Fab dish! Btw i gave you the tree of happiness award… check out my website for more details!

  • Cynthia

    I bow to the master…

  • Emiline

    Lovely! Bravo.