Tuna Tartare is one of the quickest and easiest dishes to prepare and tastes great if market fresh tuna is available as well as good avocado. See if you can also find young shallots at the market which are available during summer.
This is Jean George's most requested dish at his famous 3 star michelin restaurant Jean George and his adjoining Bistro Nougatine. Many chefs now are copying it... but those in the know realize it is a Jean George classic as is his Chocolate Molten Cake.
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup sugar
6 kaffir lime leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup peeled, coarsely chopped fresh ginger
About 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Champagne vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
One 1-pound sushi-grade center-cut tuna steak
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 dried Thai chile or to taste, minced
1 shallot, minced
AVOCADO AND RADISH SALAD
2 small avocados, cut into small dice and crushed sligthly
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Lime juice to taste
Salt to taste
4 red radishes, sliced 1/8-inch thick and soaked in ice water
Chinese chili oil
For the Tuna
Note: To dice the tuna it is best to put the tuna in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm up. If the avocado is fresh that too can be cooled to make dicing easier. Dice both into equal sizes -- about 1/4".
For the Kaffir Syrup
Combine all of the ingredients for the kaffir syrup in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Strain and set aside.
For the Ginger Marinade
In a blender, purée the ginger with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil; add more olive oil as necessary until the ginger purée is very smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the Champagne vinegar, soy sauce and 1/4 cup of the Kaffir Syrup. Set aside.
For the Tuna Tartare
Using a very sharp knife, slice the tuna steak horizontally 1/4-inch thick, then slice the tuna into 1/4 inch dice. In a bowl, gently toss the tuna dice with the olive oil, Thai chile and minced shallot. Lightly season with salt.
For the Avocado and Radish
Slice radishes with a mandolin or truffle slicer very thin. Add the radishes to ice water for 2 hours. This will crisp the radish slices and give them a nicer shape for final preparation.
In a medium bowl, gently toss the diced avocados with the olive oil and season to taste with lime juice and salt. Drain the radishes and pat dry. In a bowl, toss the radishes with a few drops of Chinese chili oil and season with salt. Mound the avocado mixture in four bowls. Arrange the tuna on top in bundles. Arrange the radishes on top of thw tuna in a decorative presentation. Spoon 3 tablespoons of Ginger Marinade around each salad and drizzle with a few drops of Chinese chili oil. Serve at once.