Tuna's succulent flesh absorbs marinade quickly, making it a poor candidate for overnight preparation. For tuna tartare, called ahi poke in Hawaiian cuisine, you want the texture of raw fish. When it soaks too long in marinade, especially one containing citrus juice or vinegar, the appealing pink flesh turns gray. It can also lose its creamy mouthfeel, developing the consistency of commercially canned tuna – fine for a tuna salad sandwich but not a tartare.
Tuna tartare is typically composed of finely diced fresh tuna and minced herbs and seasonings ranging from citrus juice or vinegar to garlic or shallots, sesame, ginger, soy sauce, scallions and chili peppers, all held together with oil. It might be presented with avocado, crackers or a lightly poached egg on top. Serve it immediately, or marinate the tuna in the refrigerator for up to 15 minutes.
Any raw food preparation carries a greater risk of foodborne illness than does a cooked dish. To minimize this, purchase scrupulously fresh fish. Sushi- or sashimi-grade tuna costs more, but it typically gets flash frozen, which kills potentially harmful microbes, explains food science expert Harold McGee in “Keys to Good Cooking.” Hold the fish until serving time in the refrigerator, and clean your hands, all utensils and your work surface with soap and hot water both before and after you prepare the dish.
How Long Can Tuna Stay Fresh?
How to Cook Ahi Tuna on a Frying Pan
Canned Tuna Vs. Fresh Tuna
How to BBQ Salmon Fillets
How to Cook Swai With Breading
How to Grill Tuna Steak
How to Cook Tuna Steaks on the Grill
How to Fry Fish That Was Frozen
The Benefits of Tuna & Omega-3 Oil
How to Freeze Tuna Salad
How to Cook Trevally
How to Cook Tuna on a Stove
How to Buy Fresh Tuna
How to Cook Bluefish
How to Pan-Sear Swordfish
How to Grill a Cod Fish
How to Make Schmaltz Herring
How Long Can Seared Ahi Tuna Be Kept?
How to Bake Breaded Mahi Mahi
Tuna Steaks Nutrition
- Keys to Good Cooking: A Guide to Making the Best of Foods and Recipes; Harold McGee
- New York Times: Tuna Ceviche or Tartare With Avocado
- Fine Cooking: Spicy Sesame Tuna Tartare
- Food & Wine: Asian Tuna Tartare
Since landing her first journalism job editing a small-town weekly in 1992, Deb Barracato has written for and edited newspapers, regional magazines, books and online publications. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from University of Maryland.
John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images