|COOKBOOKS WITH PANACHE
Happy in the Kitchen
By Michel Richard
A Happy Take on Tuna.
Serves 4 as a first course or light lunch,
or 8 as an appetizer.
Tuna tartare has become a fixture in restaurants,
but this variation has a distinctive ingredient:
beets. The slight sweetness of tuna gets
a big boost from the beets. The color complements
the fish perfectly, and the textures are
so similar that I think of beets as vegetable
versions of tuna. Then, for crunch, some
tangy pickled daikon or jicama. Don't
add the dressing until just before you
serve, or the tuna will “cook” – actually,
the proper term is “acidulate” – in
the lemon juice.
Hint: This dish looks amazing when the
tuna, beets, and daikon are cut into perfect
cubes. Reserve any scraps for another use.
10 ounces beets without greens (2 medium)
12 ounces center-cut tuna
2 ounces (about ½ cup) pickled daikon
or peeled jicama, cut into tiny (no larger
than 1/8 inch) dice
2 shallots, minced
1 tablespoon minced chives
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
Fine sea salt to taste
A few drops of Tabasco sauce
Preheat the oven to 325o F. Wash the beets,
wrap in aluminum foil, and bake for 1½ hours,
or until tender when pierced with a knife.
Carefully remove the beets from the foil
and let cool until you are able to handle
them. Peel the beets and cut them into ½-inch
dice. Place in a medium bowl. Trim any
blood lines (dark portions) and any visible
sinew from the tuna. Cut the tuna into ½-inch
dice. If the tuna is too soft to cut cleanly,
place the tuna on a tray and then into
the freezer until just firm enough to slice
neatly. Add to the beets. Add the remaining
ingredients and mix well. Serve immediately.
Tuna Beet Tartare, from Michel Richard's Happy in the
For Michel Richard, the owner/chef of the renowned Michel
Richard Citronelle in Washington, DC, the possibilities in
food preparation are endless. He is constantly rethinking
the most tried-and-true dishes and presenting them in new
and surprising ways.
In his magical hands, the basic potato
is transformed into a convincing risotto; scallops are pureed
and cooked to resemble feathery scrambled eggs, and tomatoes
are diced and dressed to look and taste like steak tartare.
Now, in his new book, Happy in the Kitchen (Artisan, 2006,
$45), Richard shares 150 of his most inspired recipes as
well as the foolproof kitchen techniques that will guarantee
Happy in the Kitchen, Artisan, 2006. Photo: Deborah Jones