One of my favorite dishes at Chino Latino in Minneapolis is called “Tuna Tataki”. It’s a barely seared rectangular strip of tuna that remains raw in the middle and is sliced into thin squares and served with a Japanese-style dipping sauce. Fresh tuna is really expensive, but making this as an appetizer will serve 4 people for not much more than the price of 1 fat tuna steak and will really impress your guests. What I make is similar to what we get at Chino Latino, so I think the ingredients below are close to the restaurant recipe.
4 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp seasoned Japanese rice wine vinegar (or sushi seasoning)
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp finely minced ginger
1 tbsp minced green onion or chives
1 dash cayenne pepper
Red tuna steak or tuna fillet cut into approximately 1” by 1” by 5” batons
Optional: thinly shaved carrot and cucumber strips ("shaved" with a potato peeler)
Whisk all the ingredients except the tuna and set aside in individual mini sauce bowls. Heat a frying pan over high heat with a teaspoon of light vegetable oil. Salt the tuna strips, place them on the pan and let them sear for 10 seconds maximum. (After you've eaten this once, you will be able do gauge how many seconds it takes to get the tuna done to your taste.) Turn them 90 degrees and sear again for 10 seconds. Continue until you have seared all four long sides. Remove from pan. Cut each strip crosswise into ¼ inch thin square slices and arrange on a plate on top of the optional carrots and cucumber. The slices will be beautiful with a rim of light pink and a deep red center. Serve with the sauce on the side.
There is an alternative sauce that I made up one day when inviting a group of Italian friends over for dinner. They had the choice of the dark brown “Japanese” sauce or the bright green “Italian” one. Here’s the “Italian” one:
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup flat Italian parsley leaves, packed
1 small or ½ medium garlic clove
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Place the garlic clove and parsley in a mini food processor and process to small bits. Add the oil, salt and pepper and process to a smooth sauce.