Ever wish you could eat at New York City’s legendary Le Cirque every night? We sure do, but thankfully (for our wallets) we received a copy of A Table At Le Cirque and have been cooking our way through ever since. Next up, a classic tuna tartare with an Eastern twist.
Sottha Khunn first joined Le Cirque as one of Daniel Boulud’s sous chefs in the 1980s when fish tartares had become trendy restaurant fare. Khunn’s fusion version mirrors his own international background: curry seasoning from his Cambodian heritage and precise technique (brunoise = 1/8-inch dice) from training in such gastronomic temples as France’s Troisgros and L ’Archestrate. Each mouthful is the perfect balance of tiny crunchy vegetables, smooth cool tuna and subtly spiced mayonnaise.
For the curry mayonnaise
- 1 large egg yolk
- salt, to taste
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons Madras curry powder
For the tartare
- 12 ounces sushi-grade tuna, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 2 tablespoons celery, cut into brunoise (1/8-inch dice)
- 2 tablespoons radish, cut into brunoise plus extra julienned for garnish
- 1 tablespoon snipped chives
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- fresh lemon juice
- canola oil for brushing
- In a blender, purée the egg yolk with a pinch of salt. With the machine on, slowly add the oil.
- Scrape the mayonnaise into a bowl and whisk in the lemon juice and curry powder; refrigerate.
- In a medium bowl, toss the tuna with the vegetable brunoise and chives.
- Fold in 1/2 cup of the curry mayonnaise. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
- Brush a 4- or 6-ounce ramekin with oil. Pack one fourth of the tartare in the ramekin and turn it out in the center of a plate. Repeat with the remaining tartare.
- Garnish the tops with the radish julienne and celery sprigs. Decorate the plates with dots of the remaining curry mayonnaise and serve.
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