What Is Tuna Tartare Actually Made Of?

If you're seeking a delicious appetizer featuring the freshest seafood available, tuna tartare is a worthy selection. The foundation of the recipe is raw tuna, which is typically combined with avocado and lemon juice, as well as aromatic ingredients, such as scallions, ginger, or onions. Most people treat tuna tartare as an elevated dip, so it's often served alongside quality crackers or crusty bread. However, you can also serve it with rice or even in a salad, which makes a good accompaniment to more substantial fare.

The delicious dish is a relatively recent invention, first developed at a Los Angeles eatery in 1984. While employed at Chaya Brasserie, chef Shigefumi Tachibe altered the classic beef tartare recipe to accommodate a diner who abstained from beef. Using tuna in place of beef turned out to be an inspired choice, as tuna tartare is wildly popular across the world these days. 

If you're tempted to make it at home, your tuna selection is of the utmost importance.

How is 'sushi-grade' defined?

Tuna tartare recipes often include instructions to use sushi-grade fish to ensure the best possible results. But it's worth noting that sushi-grade is not an official designation. Instead, it suggests that the fish used in a raw preparation is of optimal quality. Fish that's listed as sushi-grade must also be packaged and processed in the correct manner to safeguard it against foodborne illness.

While the FDA generally advises against consuming raw fish, the agency offers tips on how to minimize your risk of foodborne illness if you choose to partake. In this case, it's crucial that the fish is frozen prior to being prepared and served. This is because the process of freezing fish is capable of killing parasites, which can contribute to substantial illness if consumed. 

Additionally, certain people should avoid consuming raw fish, regardless of its quality or how it's prepared. This includes people with compromised immune systems, pregnant women, children, and elderly individuals.

Tips for selecting the best tuna

Making a careful fish selection for making tuna tartare at home requires a few steps. First and foremost, inquire whether the fish was frozen prior to being stocked, as this offers assurance that the selection is protected against parasites. Next, consider the conditions at the market or store where you're shopping for raw tuna. You shouldn't detect any overly pungent or unpleasant smells, as these could indicate that the selection isn't as fresh as it could be.

Finally, consider how the tuna is displayed for customer selection. In the event you're shopping for tuna fillets, they should be resting on crushed ice, with each fillet spaced a good distance from the others. If you'd rather purchase a whole fish, they should be completely covered in ice to ensure they're well preserved. Don't be afraid to ask questions about the selection, as a quality establishment will be able to provide additional information on when the fish was received and where it came from. 

By taking these steps, you can rest assured that the resulting tuna tartare will be fresh and full of flavor.