Tartare Faceoff: Tuna vs. Salmon, Man vs. Woman

My girlfriend and I both love cooking. So, naturally we often end up cooking together. It’s fun, but I’m a stubborn know it all and she’s Calabrese, so sometimes we have “culinary disputes”. Last Saturday we were in the mood to make tartare at home. Neither of us had ever made it before, but it seemed like it would be simple enough. After browsing a few recipes to get a general idea of how it was done we decided it was indeed very doable, but she wanted salmon and I wanted tuna. Stalemate. The solution? An Iron Chef style face off, but with different ingredients. Salmon Tartare vs. Tuna Tartare. One kitchen, two dishes, no recipes (other than the general guidance we were able to glean from our browsing that afternoon) and no cooperation allowed.

Note: due to the “no recipe” rule and the fact that there was a lot of adjustment on the fly the quantities below are no doubt slightly off from what actually ended up in each tartare, but recipes are meant to be tweaked to one’s exact taste in any case and these serve as good guidelines.

Tuna Tartare with Crostini

Tuna Tartare

200g of sushi grade tuna (chopped)
1/2 an avocado (chopped)
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp spicy smoked spanish paprika
1 tsp finely chopped green onions
1/2 tsp finely chopped jalapeno
A couple of pinches of salt
Lemon juice (about half a lemon)
Toasted sesame seeds

Method: Mix all ingredients except tuna and avocado in a bowl then add tuna and avocado. Pretty simple really. I learned something though. This time I added the chopped avocado with the chopped tuna from the outset. Because I was tasting and adjusting the seasoning as I went I ended up stirring quite a bit. As a result the avocado blended into the tuna too much. It didn’t negatively impact the taste, but it did affect the presentation I was going for. It would have looked a lot better if the red of the tuna and the green of the avocado remained distinct colours. Rookie mistake. Next time I’ll add the avocado only once I am done seasoning the tuna and give it just one quick stir. To make the crostini I sliced a baguette on an angle and as thinly as possible and coated the pieces liberally with olive oil, salt, pepper and smoked paprika and then baked them in the oven at 375 for about 10 minutes.

Salmon Tartare

Salmon Tartare

300g of sushi grade salmon (chopped)
1/2 an avocado (chopped)
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp finely chopped red onion
2 tbsp finely chopped green onion
1 tbsp cilantro
1 tbsp salmon caviar
Juice of one lime
Pinch of smoked chipotle powder
Toasted sesame seeds
Pinch of grated ginger
Pinch of salt and pepper

Avocado base – 1/2 an avocado mashed with a fork and cilantro and lime to taste.

Method: Same as above. The lady really took the presentation element of the challenge to heart and opted to serve the tartare two ways. One served on top of rice crackers and a layer of the avocado base. The other over watercress and the avocado base and garnished with wasabi peas.

Each of the tartares ended up representing its maker quite accurately. Mine – spicy, smoky and simply presented. The lady’s – light, fresh and “cutely” and creatively presented with great use of colour. So who won? Both of us. Two delicious dishes without any beef, literally and figuratively!

We may be on to something with these little challenges…

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One Response to Tartare Faceoff: Tuna vs. Salmon, Man vs. Woman

  1. Laura says:

    My boyfriend and I have similar challenges in our tiny kitchen (that part is not so fun) but we call them showdowns. In fact, we haven’t had a throw down in quite some time, not since the great showdown of early 2010, which was a heads-up challenge, my artichoke heart, pear and goat cheese raviolis vs. his butternut squash and sage raviolis.

    I think were ready for a new game-on. Maybe even a double-date challenge!

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