Tuna Tartare with Nori Chips
Remember that batch of frying oil I told you to save a few weeks ago? Well… it’s time to break it out again. I told you that stuff would come in handy.
While you’re doing that, please excuse me while I go stare out the window and shout expletives at all of the snow plows driving by right now. There is nothing worse than a snow plow on a could-be-please-please-let-it-be snow day.
Anyway, back to the oil. You’re definitely want to break it out, because these tuna tartare nori chips might be one of my favorite appetizers ever. I’m pretty sure you’ll like them too.
Appetizers are my favorite part of any meal.
Let’s discuss the crispy nori (seaweed) chips, shall we? If you’re into nori, you will love these.
The trick to super crispy nori chips is dipping them in a slurry (cornstarch and water mixture) and then frying them briefly in batches. It results in a super light, crunchy, yet thin and delicate chip that is the perfect vehicle for pretty much anything.
But this Asian-inspired tuna tartare is my favorite topping of all.
I learned the crispy nori trick during my time at the restaurant, and even though I quickly ended up despising the task (picture cutting, dipping, and frying 300 nori chips for multiple parties over and over again and you can quickly realize why), I still love them a lot.
For the tuna tartare, you’ll want to buy the best-quality Ahi or Yellowtail tuna you can find, as you will be eating it raw. Go to a trusted fish monger–and remember that “sushi grade” or “sashimi grade” labels are not regulated or standardized at all.
Although fresh tuna is generally on the expensive side, you will only need a half pound or less for this recipe (which makes 24 bites). Depending on how many people you’re serving, you can adjust the recipe fairly easily too.
Plus, you’ll have lots of nori sheets left over to make extra chips. And I sort of recommend doing so, because they are really tasty on their own and you might end up snacking on several of them along the way.
But what you’ll really want to do is save them for this tuna tartare, which is a simple combination of diced tuna, cucumber, fresh lime juice, chives, sriracha, and a teensy amount of mayonnaise. Emphasis on the teensy part.
The kick of sriracha and saltiness of the nori totally take these over the top. Hope you love these as much as I do!
Tuna Tartare with Nori Chips
- 6 cups canola oil (for frying)
- 3 nori sheets
- 1 cup of water
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 8 ounces (1/2 lb) sushi-grade tuna, diced
- 1/3 of an English cucumber, peeled, diced, and seeds removed (~1/2 cup)
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon mayonnaise
- 1.5 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon sriracha
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
Prepare Nori Chips:
- Using scissors, cut each nori sheet in half lengthwise. Cut each half sheet into two equal sized squares. Cut each square into two triangles. Each sheet should yield 8 triangles. Set aside.
- Whisk water and cornstarch together in a bowl and set aside. Line a baking sheet with paper towels or a cooling rack and set aside.
- Place oil in a heavy, straight-edged saute pan or pot. Using a frying thermometer, heat oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Dip each nori triangle into the cornstarch mixture (whisk together occasionally if cornstarch starts to settle on the bottom of the bowl) and immediately transfer to hot oil, frying 5-6 triangles at a time. Be careful, as the oil may splatter a bit as you work.
- Using tongs, flip the nori and continue to fry until oil is still and they no longer are bubbling. Transfer the nori chips carefully with tongs to the baking sheet. Salt immediately.
- Repeat with remaining nori triangles.
Tuna Tartare (prepare just before serving):
- Combine ingredients in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve tartare with nori chips. Garnish with finely chopped chives.
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