Tuna Tartare

Tuna Tartare
Elaine Lemm
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 4 servings

Tuna tartare is a classic dish eaten around the world where the fresh fish is available. This recipe sticks closely to a traditional version without too many bold flavors, allowing the fresh tuna to sing with the other ingredients there to add subtle back notes and texture.

The key to the success of this tartare is to source the best tuna you can: Sushi-grade is perfect as it means the fish is good and safe for eating raw. Always check with your fishmonger or market to how fresh it is. The fish should look fresh, bright, and perky—when pressed (many shops will not like you doing that but you can ask them to do it for you) will spring back quickly.

The fish should not smell fishy, the aroma should be clean if there is any aroma at all. If in any doubt, freeze the fish for 24 hours, then defrost as added security; or buy frozen which is usually done directly on the fishing boat ensuring supreme freshness.

When dicing the vegetables for this recipe they all need to be roughly the same size and no bigger than a 1/4-inch, or finely diced.


  • For the Dressing:
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Tiny pinch Kosher salt
  • For the Fish:
  • 4 ounces cucumber (peeled, seeded, finely diced)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces sushi-grade tuna
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper (deseeded, peeled and finely diced)
  • 1/4 cup shallots (finely diced)
  • 1/2 cup potato (peeled and finely diced)
  • 3 teaspoons parsley (finely chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 4 tablespoons thick sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • For the Garnish:
  • 1 tomato (seeds removed and cubed)
  • Optional: Fresh herbs
  • Optional: Sliced avocado

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    tuna tartare ingredients
    Elaine Lemm
  2. Place the cided cucumber into a bowl and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir then leave for 5 minutes. Rinse quickly under running water and dry on kitchen paper. Keep to one side.

    Tuna tartare cucumber
    Elaine Lemm
  3. Boil potatoes in lightly salted water for 3 minutes maximum. Drain and dry with kitchen paper, then season with a tiny sprinkle of salt and pepper. The potatoes must be very dry before they are used.

    Tuna Tartare Potatoes
    Elaine Lemm
  4. Use a sharp knife to cut through the grain lines of the tuna to create even slices, then cut into cubes.

    Cut the tuna
    Elaine Lemm
  5. In a bowl, mix the tuna and all the diced vegetables, chopped parsley, and mayonnaise. Do this carefully so as to not break up the vegetables.

    Mix tuna tartare
    Elaine Lemm
  6. Place a 3-inch pastry ring in the center of a serving plate and spoon vegetable and fish mixture into it. Press down firmly.

    Tuna Tartare Ring
    Elaine Lemm
  7. Press a small indentation in the center of the tartare and place a large tablespoon of sour cream into it. Smooth the sour cream with a spatula or knife.

    Cream and Tuna Tartare
    Elaine Lemm
  8. Loosen the ring and remove it very carefully. Lightly whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients and drizzle lightly on and around the tartare. Decorate with the tomatoes and fresh herbs (if using) and a little extra pepper. The tartare also works really well with slices of avocado for a more substantial dish.

    Finished Tuna Tartare
    Elaine Lemm
  9. Serve the tartare immediately, or if serving later, cover very lightly with plastic wrap. Eat on the same day, this will not keep longer.