‘tartare’ predates those days of genghis khan’s horses and was likely devoured even before ethnic tartars from around lake baikal were subdued into a mongolian empire. though it was then mostly hacked horse flesh, it is now more often a dish of finely chopped raw beef or fish. everybody knows by now that beef for tartare must come from a reliable source. fresh tuna tartare is a safer bet under most all circumstance. it is typically taken from a cut of the fatty party of tuna, the underbelly, chutoro or otoro. but, as with beef, choosing a reliable monger will assure you the freshness of the fish, be it ahi, albacore or blue fin. the lore of this dish originated at chaya’s in los angeles, where chef tachibe combined tuna with egg, avocado (so california) and chives.
my tuna tartare is more of a scramble, a fusion of raw tuna, egg yolk, minced chives, grated wasabi and freshly scraped yuzu zest. and now that quince is in the market i grind its fleshy fragrance into the shuffle. i like it on toasted pugliese from the pearl, or the peppery heart leaves of turnips.