Tuna Tartare

Delicate Raw Tuna With Salty Capers and Lemon Juice

Tuna Tartare

Delicate Raw Tuna With Salty Capers and Lemon Juice

A tartare is a dish made with raw meat or fish that's finely diced and mixed with bold seasonings.  Versions include ones made with steak, salmon, or in this recipe, with tuna.

Tartare is related to Italian crudo or carpaccio, Middle Eastern kibbeh, Spanish ceviche, or Japanese sashimi.  What all these dishes share is the necessity to have the fish or meat be acutely fresh and the best quality and for the dish to be served cold.

While some like tuna tartare mixed with things like tomato or avocado, these are dominant ingredients and will overwhelm tuna's delicacy and frankly turn the dish into something else.  Instead I prefer tuna complimented with tastes that bring out the fish's rich flavor. 

Buy the best quality tuna you can find -- seek out sashimi-quality -- and to make it easier to dice, place it in the freezer for a half-hour in advance.  This will slightly stiffen the fish and make it less wobbly as it's cut. If you're making the tartare in advance, meaning more than an hour before you're planning to serve it, prepare and refrigerate all the ingredients but don't assemble the tartare until just before serving.  That's because the lemon juice will "cook" the fish, changing the tuna's texture.  

Tuna tartare makes an appealing hot weather starter or because the raw fish is rich and satisfying, small servings can be a main course when served with room temperature vegetables or a salad.  But it's also a popular hors d'oeuvres.  Just spoon a little of the diced tuna on a thin slice of toasted baguette, a sturdy potato chip, a cucumber round, or in a crisp leaf of Belgian endive.



  1. Finely dice the tuna into 1/4-inch pieces.
  2. Dice the onion into 1/8-inch dice.
  3. Gently combine the diced tuna, onion, and finely chopped capers. Add the olive oil and lemon juice and gently toss to coat.
  4. Season with about 4 drops of Tabasco, a pinch of salt and several grinds of black pepper.
  5. Refrigerate until ready to serve.



Tuna (fresh)Hors d’oeuvresItalianFrench


Newsletter Sign-Up

Tart: Like Meyer Lemons




The City Cook Newsletter

You will receive an email shortly, please follow the link to verify your subscription.

More Recipes