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Recipe: Susur Lee’s Tuna Tartare with Seared Peppery Tuna and Tonnato Sauce

Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

If you are time-strapped, any of the components of this recipe work well on their own.

Servings: 4

Ready time: 45 minutes

Wine pairings:

Over all, the weight of chef Lee’s dish here is light but the flavours are punchy and layered. It calls for a white with tang. I would go with a dry white that’s zesty around the edges yet with a suggestion of rounded sweetness in the middle. Two prime candidates: gruner veltliner from Austria or chenin blanc, either from France’s Loire Valley (as in Vouvray) or from South Africa. Other good options: riesling, dry sparkling wine or Australian semillon. - Beppi Crosariol

Tonnato Sauce

1/4 cup tuna packed in oil

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp capers, drained

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

4 drops hot sauce

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp ground white pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

Seared tuna

8 oz. sushi-grade tuna loin


3 tbsp finely ground black pepper

1 tbsp vegetable oil


2/3 cup julienne daikon radish

2/3 cup julienne celery root

1 tbsp julienne strips of ginger



8 ounces sushi grade-tuna, 1/2-inch diced

1 tbsp finely chopped shallots

2 tsp chopped cilantro

1/2 tsp sesame oil

2 tsp Japanese soy sauce

2 tsp egg white

1 tbsp yuzu or lemon juice

4 drops hot sauce


1/2 an avocado, 1/4 inch diced

12 edamame beans

12 taro chips

1 finely sliced bird’s eye chili

1/2 cup pea tendrils


Tonnato: Combine all the ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth, scraping down as needed. Reserve.

Seared Tuna: Slice tuna into 2 rectangles, lengthwise. Season with salt and let sit for 10 minutes. Roll each loin in pepper, coating all sides.

Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Heat oil in a frying pan over high heat. Add one piece of tuna and cook for 30 seconds on each side. Submerge tuna into ice water to stop cooking. Transfer to a plate and reserve. Repeat with second piece of tuna.

Combine daikon, celery root and ginger in a bowl of cold water. Reserve.

Tartare: Stir shallots with cilantro, sesame oil, soy sauce, egg white, yuzu juice and hot sauce. Combine with diced tuna. Taste for seasoning.

Assembly: Press 1/4 of the tartare mixture into a 3-inch ring mould on a plate. Remove ring and repeat with remaining tartare. Top tartare with avocado. Drain daikon mixture, squeezing out excess water. Season with salt and twist a small amount of the salad over the avocado. Spoon tonnato sauce around the tartare. Slice seared tuna into 1/4-inch slice and lay over tonnato or around the plate. Garnish plate with edamame, taro chips, pepper slices and tendrils.

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