This is a copy-cat recipe from one of my favourite restaurants.
Barrafina in Soho is a little Spanish place. There are no tables or reservations, just two bars. One for waiting, one for eating.
There are very few things in this world that I will queue for, but this is one of them… and it’s actually part of the fun!
You grab a bottle of wine, some nibbles and slowly chat and chew your way along, until there’s space enough at the big bar for you to sit down.
This is where the real magic happens. The charming, funny staff will zip over and rattle through the specials board with you (highlighting their personal favourites). They’ll top you up with wine ‘n’ water and bring you plate after plate of the best tapas you’ve ever tasted.
Not all of it is strictly Spanish, some of it has influences from other places too.
Like their tuna tartar.
A carefully formed pile of fresh, Asian flavoured tuna and a dollop of zingy, smooth guacamole. It’s everyone’s favourite and they frequently run out.
It’s my gent’s favourite dish, so I made it for him at home.
Very few people make tuna tartar at home, intimidated by the idea of it… but it’s so bloody easy! Trust me, as soon as you’ve made it once you’ll be whipping it up for nibbles every time you have company.
The real key is super fresh tuna.
Don’t buy tuna steaks from the fish section of the supermarket. They’re fine for cooking, but not great raw.
You need sashimi quality fish, which means asking a pro. Go to your local fishmonger, or the fish counter if you have a really good supermarket and tell him/her (actually, I’ve never met a lady fishmonger but I’m certain they’re out there!) and tell them you plan on making tartar.
You’ll need a hunk of tuna; about 4in wide. 2 ripe avocados, coriander (cilantro), lemon, lime, garlic, salt, soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds (optional).
Lay your tuna out on a cool chopping board.
Cut away any straggly, stringy bits.
Slice into skinny steaks. About 1cm width.
Slice these up into 1cm strips.
Then slice the other way to get 1cm cubes.
Keep going until you have a good pile of tuna blocks.
Pop them into a bowl with 4tbsp soy sauce.
Add the same amount of sesame oil.
Add a couple of tablespoons of sesame seeds if you like (they do this in the restaurant but I’d run out this time and it still tasted great).
Toss it all together.
Now puree your avocados with 1 small clove of crushed garlic, a big pinch of salt, the juice of 1 small lemon & lime and a handful of torn coriander.
Pile them up next to each other & pop a sprig of coriander on top if you’re feeling fancy!
Easy peasy and whipped up in a flash!
You can serve with forks (as they do at Barrafina) and just scoop it all up as it is, or lean towards the Mexican side of the dish and serve with topitos (salted tortilla chips).
Either way, you’ll want a chilled glass of something delicious and someone to impress.
I wont tell them how easy it was if you won’t!