Tuna Tartare de la Mesón

First we need to take:

  • 2 cups fresh tuna, diced into ¾-inch squares
  • 2 Tbsp. seaweed salad, chopped fine
  • ½ cup Asian pears, diced into ½-inch squares
  • 1 Tbsp. black sesame seeds
  • 2 ½ Tbsp. kim chi vinaigrette
  • 4 raw quail egg yolks

Kim Chi

  • 1 lb. Napa cabbage
  • 3 Tbsp. sea salt, separated
  • 4 cups cold water
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh garlic, chopped fine
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, chopped fine
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh scallions, chopped fine
  • 1 tsp. dried red chili pepper flakes
  • 1 ½-2 tsp. sugar

Separate and wash cabbage leaves. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sea salt evenly onto the cabbage leaves. Place the salted cabbage leaves into a large bowl, add the cold water, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator overnight. Be sure that the water covers all of the cabbage leaves. To ensure that the leaves remain covered with water, place a plate or other heavy object on top of the leaves. Leave to sit overnight. Pour off the water and thoroughly rinse the cabbage leaves. Shake to remove excess moisture. Place the leaves back into the bowl and add the garlic, scallions, ginger, and dried red chili pepper flakes, sugar, and remaining tablespoon of salt. Use your hands and rub the seasoning evenly into all cabbage leaves. (Be sure to wear gloves to protect your hands from burning from the pepper flakes.) For easier distribution, add a cup of warm water to mixture prior to adding to cabbage. Transfer the seasoned cabbage leaves into a large glass bottle, ensuring that the leaves are firmly pressed into the bottle without sticking to the sides or with a great deal of space within them. Add any liquid from the mixing process to the bottle as well. Additional liquid will come from the cabbage leaves once packed into the bottle. Leave approximately 2 inches of room at the top of the bottle before capping it tightly with a lid. Allow the bottle to sit at room temperature for 2-3 days prior to use. (Kim chi is also available pre-made in Asian markets and specialty food stores).

Kim Chi Vinaigrette

  • 3 Tbsp. kim chi 1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. grapeseed oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Korean bean paste 
(available in Asian markets or specialty food stores)

Place ingredients into a Cuisinart or other similar food processor and blend until smooth; set aside.

For the assembly: Mix the tuna, seaweed salad, pears, and sesame seeds with the kim chi vinaigrette. Pack the mixture tightly into a small cup to mold into a mound shape and place on plate. Top with the raw quail egg yolks. Garnish with a toasted lavash cracker and serve.


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