Saturday, 10 December 2011

Tuna Tartare and Wild Honey (not together)

So, it's been a ridiculously long time since I last posted, but I went out recently and had one of the best meals I've had in a while. I took the wife to the theatre to see Billy Elliot (which was excellent) and went for dinner at Wild Honey restaurant in Mayfair. They do a pre-theatre menu which was very tasty and incredibly good value - you really can't complain about a 3 course michelin star meal for £23.

Wild Honey (and sister restaurant Arbutus) is famed for being very reasonably priced, I think largely because they use fairly standard ingredients, but cook them perfectly. If you're looking for truffles in the bucket load with every dish, this isn't really the place for you but the autumn vegetable soup was silky smooth, the Plaice main course was cooked perfectly and I could have eaten the carrot cake by the bucket load (not that I've ever seen a cake served in a bucket, but when it's that good I'll eat it however it comes).

So, when I saw a deal on tuna at the local fish mongers (£2 for a piece big enough for 2 starter portions) I thought that I would try to take a leaf out of Wild Honey's book and make something that tastes great without costing much at all.

One of the most important things to get right about the tartare is the cutting of the tuna. You don't want huge lumps of tuna to chew your way through and you don't want to cut the tuna so fine that it becomes tuna mince. I think that if you get your tuna into about 1/2cm cubes it will be about right.

The other important bit is to get the balance of flavours right. The measurements I have given should work well if you just add them all and mix them together, but to get the best result add the ingredients a little at a time, then taste and add and taste and add until you have the perfect tuna tartare.

Tuna Tartare

200g Tuna (as fresh as possible)
5 cocktail gherkins
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 small red onion
2 baby spring onions
1/2 lime
1/2 teaspoon parsley stems
1/2 teaspoon light soy sauce
salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Finely chop the gherkins, red onion, spring onions and parsley. Keep them separate from each other and set aside.

2. Dice the tuna into about 1/2cm cubes and put into a large bowl.

3. Add the diced gherkins, red onion, spring onions and parsley.

4. Add all the other ingredients tasting as you go.

5. Use a presentation ring to plate up the tartare. I decorated the plate with finely sliced pickled radish and baby courgette

6. Serve immediately (if you leave it for too long the lime juice will start 'cooking' the tuna.

Serves 2

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