Chef vs. Cook: Tuna Tartare w/ Crispy Shallots

There is a difference between a chef and a cook.

My friend Stephane at Chefs Gone Wild is a CHEF who is paid with dollars.

I am a home COOK, who is paid with "thank yous".

Last summer, I bookmarked Stephane's recipe for tuna tartare and said "I can do this". It isn't foie gras burgers, or fancy pants pork terrines.

Here, I prove to myself that I can compete with the big boys, and not only BUY the tuna, CHOP the tuna, but ASSEMBLE the tuna as well. (I should've named my blog "THE INSECURE COOK").

This is so pretty and such a great first course.

The hardest part was frying the shallots for the topping, which is not really hard at all.

P.S. I am for hire to be anyone's kitchen assistant or sous chef. I am a great chopper! (and great at busting chops too, as people will tell you!).

Zenchef's Tuna Tartare w/ Crispy Shallots

For the tartare:

20 ounces fresh Ahi Tuna, cut into small dice
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 ripe Haas 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

Buy the freshest tuna you can find, ahi tuna, sashimi grade works best.
In a small bowl, mix your diced tuna w/ kosher salt, pepper & olive oil. Set aside.

In another bowl, chop your avocado and mix with lemon juice, and a little salt.

In a 3rd bowl (that's a lot of bowls), mix your dressing.

Fry your shallots in a skillet with a little olive oil and sprinkle with flour.
Fry about a minute till crispy and drain on paper towels.

In a 3" ring mold (I used an oiled ramekin because I didn't have any good molds), layer your chopped tuna & avocado. Put in the fridge until ready to plate.
Tuna avocado mixture should slide out with a little help. Invert in a bowl that will hold dressing.

Carefully pour dressing around the tuna tartare. Place frizzled shallots on top and serve with potato chips or crackers.

Voila! C'est magnifique!


In my kitchen we are crazy for wild tuna. We lived in the islands for years and were lucky enough to catch our own and be able to eat it while it was almost still dripping seawater. Gorgeous dish you prepared.

I'm new to your blog and really like what I see. My husband grew up in Summit (many years ago) - a truly beautiful place to live. We also love antiques and have some early American ones we treasure. We even shipped some to the islands with us. Looks like we have a lot in common. I'll be back for more of your lovely food.
Lori Lynn said…
You are cute Stace. I'm a COOK too. And your tuna tartare as pretty as any I've seen. Definitely major league quality.
way too cute! consider chops...busted.
Anonymous said…
Very nice! It's gorgeous!
Anonymous said…
Love tuna and avocado - I'm never brave enough to work with raw fish!
Anonymous said…
You're hired Stacey! I pay peanuts but you would definitely make a great sous-chef. And I need someone to bust my chops every so often. :-)
Thank you for trying this recipe. You did a freakin' good job! Next I want you to make a terrine from scratch... err..

NOO.. don't you throw that pan at me!!
kat said…
Isn't it great when you discover you can do just about anything in the kitchen when you try
Look at you! You can hang with the big league now! But then I never doubted you.
Maria said…
Great job on the tuna, it looks amazing!!
Anonymous said…
I agree. There is a huge difference between chefs and cooks. I also think there is a huge difference between a cook and a foodie. Since you only get paid in thank yous, then after this post, you will be the richest one on the block. :)
Sara said…
This looks great, what a pretty presentation! I've never made tartare at home, I'm always a little intimidated by it :)
StaceyEsq said…
Just looking at these gorgeous pictures made my morning! My absolute favorite!! My 7 year old is becoming quite a lover of raw fish, too (we've nicknamed him Jeremy Piven)! Cannot WAIT to try this at home!
Anonymous said…
hahah, St├ęphane is so proud he sent me to have a look - I have to say, great job Stace!
You're on a fish roll, I like that, I like that.
I'm on a beef roll. We'll see how it turns out but I'm kind of freaking out.
Bob said…
Very impressive! I'm a cook too. Not only do I not do it for money, but I never paid to learn how either. Heh.
Colleen said…
Wow, this looks gorgeous! Great job!
Karen said…
Beautiful presentation and this just looks delicious!
Debbie said…
The tuna looks wonderful. Great picture!
Melissa said…
Just gorgeous. Of course you could do it! :D
Unknown said…
Thanks for the cake Stacey, it was so "wow". I took it out for just a bite in my truck and then it was gone! Dennis, your UPS dude
Anonymous said…
Yumm, looks great Stacey! What's next? A sous vide whole branzino with a nettle foam and shaved white truffles?
There is something kinda intimidating about working with raw fish. For some reason I always assumed that you couldn't use the fish you found at like whole foods or something for this kind of dish, but had to have some restaurant connection to the freshest fish available. It wasn't until I watched Top Chef and Casey used raw beef from WF for her carpaccio that it clicked that it was probably exactly the same thing! This is really, really impressive - Nice job!!
Nicole said…
I have this recipe saved too! I adore ahi and raw tuna especially with avocado. My only hesitation is actually making sure the fish is excellent quality. That and the fact that my husband won't even eat cooked fish or avocado. I have to do this one for girlfriends or dinner guests.
LaDue & Crew said…
Ok, I'll bake anything you want, forever, if you'll be my cook! This looks so good!
Lomagirl said…
You can make a mold out of a tuna fish can. (Obviously, having used the tuna fish from the can in a different recipe). Just cut off both ends. Walaa. (phonetic french).
Giff said…
I love the name "The Insecure Cook"! How marvelous :) Can't believe it's not taken. This looks yummy :)
Bluebird NY said…
Stacey, this is really gorgeous! I'm confident working with raw fish - my downfall would be getting the beautiful layered look you achieved after the stuff has fallen apart in my feeble attempts to get it out of the ramekin! I'm inspired to try this though - what a treat.
Catherine said…
Stacey, this looks incredible. I've been looking for a tuna tartar recipe that is appropriate for a fellow wannabee soux chef. Thanks for keeping us all inspired!
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