Ahi Tuna Tartare w/ Avocado, Crispy Shallots & Soy-Sesame Dressing (..and a little update)

If you think you’ve seen this before, you’re absolutely right. I originally posted this recipe in 2008 and the old photo is still in regular rotation in the banner. I’m re-posting this recipe today to talk about a little technical issue. Ready? I deleted by mistake a whole bunch of photos that were hosted on my old blog server (oops!). I didn’t notice right away but I received a few emails from watchful readers to notify me of the broken links, so I thought I should give you a little update. It will take me a little while to re-shoot the recipes from the 2007-2008 period but the good news is that in the end we’ll have brand new photography from the beginning (some of those early ones were taken with a camera phone and really left to be desired). Now somebody keep me from tweaking with the controls again, please.

If you haven’t seen this recipe and just discovering it today, well… all the better. It’s been a popular recipe inspired by Laurent Tourondel of BLT, and it makes a really easy, impressive and delicious appetizer. Ahi tuna tartare sitting on avocado, and topped with crispy shallots (mixed with rice crispies!.. shhh) and a soy-sesame vinaigrette. Use a cube pastry mold for a really striking presentation. Enjoy!

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

    • Inspired by Laurent Tourondel of BLT
    • Serves 6
    • For the Ahi Tuna & Avocado Tartare
    • 20 ounces sushi-quality 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 and rice:
    • canola oil for frying
    • 4 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
    • 2 tablespoons flour
    • 2 tablespoons rice crispies
    • sea salt
    • For the soy-sesame 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
    • For the tuna tartare:
    • 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.
    • For the crispy shallots & rice:
    • 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. Mix the rice crispies. Season with salt.
    • For the soy-sesame dressing and finish:
    • Mix all the ingredients together.
    • To assemble: Mold the avocado using a 3-inch tartlet ring or cube mold. Mold the tuna tartare on top of the avocado and finish with the crispy shallots. Lift off the ring and drizzle the dressing around.

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  • stacey snacks
  • Anonymous

    haha.. did you look at the screen upside down? The avocado is supposed to be at the bottom. :)

  • Gus

    Zen, do you take the pictures yourself? If so, what camera/lense do you use? Do you have a special place where you take these pics since they all come out extrely well lit?

  • Michelle

    gorgeous.  love the cube mold.

  • Stacey Snacks

    you know I’m dyslexic!

  • http://earthlydelightsblog.com/ Sarah

    I would never think to add rice crispies. this looks so good – and you have some great photography! Re. the photos you lost, I’d highly recommend getting an external drive and keeping a backup of everything!

  • http://foodalogue.com/ Joan Nova

    It’s still beautiful!

  • http://pickyin.blogspot.com Chang Pick Yin

    I would say your accident is a blessing in disguise. Though if the same thing happened to me I’d have a coronary. 

  • Anonymous

    Oh, bummer!  What a pain to lose all those photos – but re-shooting does give you a chance to upgrade some of them, as you say.  Anyway, nice combo of flavors, and a really pretty dish!  Almost too good to eat – nay, I’d gobble it right down!  Really looks great.

  • http://www.mirauncut.com/ Mirauncut

    Love the mold you used. Can’t believe that you deleted it! I would’ve died 😛 BUT, at least we get to see fresh new photos of the recipes..oh, and I will taze you if you touch the server again! 😉

  • Anonymous

    Thanks! Yes, it’s a one man show. I do it all myself. I use a Nikon D700 with either a macro 60mm 2/8 or a 24-70mm 2/8 and Lowel ego lights. I edit the photographs with Adobe Lightroom. 

  • Anonymous

    Thank you, Sarah. Words of wisdom. I really need to backup my content. 

  • Anonymous

    Lucky I’m zenchef. I keep my ‘zen’ under any circumstances. :) 

  • Anonymous

    Yes, pretty food is meant to be eaten too. No discrimination. Thank you!

  • Anonymous

    Oooh.. a tazer. That should keep me away. Yup! :) 

  • Anonymous

    Ohh.. a tazer! That should keep me away from the server. Yup! :)

  • http://cookinwluv.blogspot.com/ Javelin Warrior

    Zen, I’m in love with this tartare! The color, the contrasting textures, the plating – amazing… I have featured this post in today’s Friday Food Fetish roundup. Let me know if you have any objections and thanks for the inspiration

  • http://kirantarun.com/food Kiran @ KiranTarun.com

    So sorry you are forced to re-shoot everything.. But the flip side is you get to taste all those yummy recipes again. Including this ahi tuna tartare. I want 😀

  • Sp1187

    thanks Zensei.
    a Watchful Reader :)

  • Sp1187

    thanks Zensei.
    a Watchful Reader :)

  • Tasteslikehome

    Ah yes, I do remember this.

    Stop tweaking with the controls!

    I have to email you soon for an article I am planning to write.

  • Anonymous

    Ok, shoot!

  • Anonymous

    Let me know what you want me to fix next! :)

  • Anonymous

    Yes, that’s the bright side!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you. No problem, go for it!

  • http://www.ouichefnetwork.com Oui, Chef

    My oldest son is a fool for dishes like this, so I will make it for him when he’s home from school in April.  Love the whimsical addition of the puffed rice.  Bummer about the photos, but glad to know we’ll get to enjoy your updated genius.

  • http://www.lemonfirebrigade.com/ Lemon Fire Brigade

    so beautiful! 

  • http://www.facebook.com/arifixi אריאלה פיקסלר אלון

    Hi Stephane,How are you?This recipe reminds me of the recipe with which I was tested and it made me won the  first place in my cooking class. It was similar, but different.Your clean presentation looks  spectacular.The combination of crispy rice gives a real Punch here.i love the recipe! 
    I’ll make it very soon.  i send you A big hug, and as usual a pleasure to read your posts and see your perfect pictures.Ariela from Israel
    Ariella Fixler Alon

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for stopping by and for the kind words, Ariella. It’s really a great recipe, a real crowd pleaser. Let me know how you like it. :)

  • Anonymous

    Thank you! :)

  • Anonymous

    Ah, perfect! Yes, it should be fun to re-shoot all these recipes (not!) haha

  • Elinnog60

    Looks good enough to EAT!!!  Love your blog. E

  • http://fionaeats.com/ Fiona

    you have not only the most delicate dishes, you have the most exquisite photos. i would love to learn how you light them so!!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you, Fiona. I’ll try to write a post on it.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Zen, what a beautiful dish!  This was my first attempt at one of your recipes and it produced excellent results!
    One question, what type of rice wine vinegar do you use?  I made this last night but all I had in the house was Shan Xi Superior Mature Vinegar which was too strong and dominated the other flavours. I also have Shao Xing wine on hand, would that have worked?  Otherwise, the dish was delicious and once I get the sauce sorted out, I will become part of my repertoire!..

  • Anonymous

    Thank you! I think that both Shan Xi vinegar and Shao Xing wine are too strong for this. I used Japanese rice wine, the brand is Otafuku but I had good results with different brands in the past. If you can’t find it you could substitute a good apple cider vinegar. 

  • Anonymous


  • Helen

    I absolutely love your recipes & photos. I have made many recipes now but this one remains my fav! I love it for entertaining too as its quite simple yet looks impressive. Thank you!

  • http://meatballsandmilkshakes.com/ meatballs & milkshakes

    This is an absolutely beautiful post! It’s so inspiring, I want to make my food look so artful!

  • http://twitter.com/Kaypachatravels Mica Ivealis

    Love ahi…this looks delicious! 

  • Peggy Garbe

    What a beautiful dish!  I might just have to pick up some ahi soon =)

  • cpastabreez

    wow what a presentation -reciepe is wow

  • Matias Zakrisson

    Hello! Found your amazingly nice looking site! I made this as my first dish from your page. “Translated” your recipe hope its okay!?

    My blogpost, if you wanna look at it!


  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=6019162 Andrew Davis Lazo

    now if only i can find ahi tuna where i live…

  • Isabelle

    tuna tartar is my favorite dish and I have tried many different recipes but i love the flavor yours has! Thanks for a great recipe

  • Shannon ‘Mayer’ Moldenhauer

    Just found this cause I discovered I really like this. My one question is on the rice krispies, do you cook them with the shallots? If not, I am thinking of mixing them with a little butter and toasting them a bit. What do you think?

  • Luc Cormier

    Thank you for this wonderful recipe! I made it last night. It was my first time cooking with raw fish. The dish turned out wonderfully. The flavours blend very well together. These little squares of joy were a hit! And they’re pretty simple to make!

  • http://meltdowninteractive.com Greg Quinn

    It says after cooking the shallots, ‘mix the rice crispies’, so I think they mean mix in the rice crispies after cooking the shallots.