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(Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail)
(Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail)

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

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

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  • Ready time: 45 minutes
  • Servings: 4

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.

Suggested 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

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