Cook the Book: Le Bernardin’s Tuna Tartare 'Sandwich'

Cook the Book: Le Bernardin\u2019s Tuna Tartare 'Sandwich'

Looking at the long list of ingredients and multiple recipes-within-a-recipe, it’s hard to believe that Le Bernardin's take on tuna tartare is one of the least labor-intensive dishes on the menu.

If you are intimidated by the sheer quantity, not to mention quality, of ingredients specified in this recipe, consider making just the excellent, Asian-inspired spice rub and ginger oil, which you can work into your existing repertoire of fish dishes. But if you do decide to give it a go, this combination of raw and seared yellowfin tuna, with its bright, spicy sauce and crisp flatbread accompaniment, is a cut above other tartares.

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  • Yield:4


  • For the seared tuna:
  • 8 ounces sushi-quality yellowfin tuna
  • Fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons spice rub (recipe follows)
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  • For the tuna tartare:
  • 8 ounces yellowfin tuna
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ginger oil (recipe follows)
  • 1 tablespoon wasabi paste
  • 1 tablespoon minced scallion (white part only)
  • 2 teaspoons minced jalapeño
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro julienne
  • 1 tablespoon yuzu juice*
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sriracha chile sauce
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • For the sauce:
  • 1/4 cup crème fraîche
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons yuzu juice*
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • Espelette pepper powder
  • For the garnish:
  • 4 flatbread crackers
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 12 micro cilantro sprouts
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Espelette pepper powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 4 ounces ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 cup canola oil


  1. 1.

    For the seared tuna, trim any blood line or dark spots from the tuna. Lightly season on both sides with salt and the spice rub and drizzle the olive oil over each side. Heat a large nonstick pan over high heat. Sear the tuna in the hot pan turning once, until browned on both sides but still raw in the center. Set aside.

  2. 2.

    For the tuna tartare, cut the tuna into 1/4-inch dice. Refrigerate.

  3. 3.

    For the sauce, whisk the crème fraiche, yuzu juice, wasabi paste, and mustard together in a small bowl. Season with salt, white pepper, and Espelette pepper powder. Thin with water as needed; the consistency should be just pourable.

  4. 4.

    When ready to serve, slice the seared tuna steak into very thin slices; you need 24 slices total. Lightly season the slices with salt and pepper and brush with extra virgin olive oil.

  5. 5.

    Combine the diced tuna, ginger oil, wasabi, scallion, jalapeño, cilantro, yuzu juice, canola oil, and chile sauce in a stainless steel bowl. Gently mix and season with salt and white pepper.

  6. 6.

    To serve, place one-quarter of the tuna tartare in the center of each plate, lightly packing it into the shape of a flabread cracker. Lay the crackers on top of the tartare. Drape the tuna slices over the crackers (6 slices per serving). Spoon some sauce around each plate. Squeeze lemon juice over the tuna, and garnish with the micro cilantro sprouts.

  7. 7.

    Spice Rub

  8. 8.

    Combine all ingredients and mix well. Store in a tightly sealed container for up to 1 week.

  9. 9.

    Ginger Oil

  10. 10.

    Put the ginger in a clean jar and add the oil. Seal tightly and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours, or refrigerate overnight, before using. Store refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

  11. 11.

    * Yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit; both the fruit and its juice can be found in many Asian markets. If it’s not available, lime juice is an acceptable substitute.