Tuna Tartare: Taking American cuisine by storm since 1984
Posted: Feb 02 2015
While it may be a favorite in restaurants across the country, few people consider making tuna tartar at home. The very idea may seem intimidating, but the fact is it’s incredibly easy. We bet that once you try it for yourself you’ll be whipping up tuna tartar regularly to impress company or just to satisfy your own late night cravings.
The key to making quick, easy and delicious tuna tartar is selecting the freshest, highest quality tuna available. Whether you use albacore, yellow fin, bluefin or ahi, as long as it’s super fresh sashimi grade tuna, you and your guests are in for a mouthwatering treat.
Tuna tartar was born out of necessity back in 1984, the brainchild of Japanese-born, French-trained Chef Shigefumi Tachibe. A lighter version of beef tartare, tuna tartar was created to satisfy restaurant patrons who weren’t interested in eating raw meat. Deciding to take advantage of tuna’s beef-like appearance, Tachibe quickly mixed a mayonnaise sauce similar to the one used in beef tartare, diced the tuna into fine chunks and the results were magic.
Tuna tartar is one of those remarkable dishes that can become anything the chef wants it to be, for instance, by simply adding a dash of soy and ginger for an Asian-infused flavor, or mango to give it a tropical essence. Tuna tartar is a refreshing, relatively light dish that takes full advantage of the smooth, firm texture of the tuna, served in small, succulent bites.
Despite its delectable success among early tasters, tuna tartar took a long time to catch on. Steak tartare remained a favorite among the country’s most savvy foodies, and fish just wasn’t something most Americans yearned for back then—sushi wasn’t even on the culinary radar in the 1980s. So Tachibe incorporated tuna tartar into his restaurant’s prix fixe, making it an element in a multi-dish meal instead of a focal point. Gradually, as the chef began to educate his Beverly Hills clientele about sushi, his tuna tartar caught on.
Over the past three decades, American eating habits have changed in favor of lighter, healthier fare in smaller portions. Tuna tartar's lasting popularity proves that Tachibe had given the culinary world something very special; a perfect meal for summer, tuna tartar is an easy, relatively quick dish to prepare and one that continues to impress dinner guests to this day.