Carpaccio de thon au citron vert

Carpaccio of tuna with lime

This dish of fresh tuna with Asian accents is ultrasimple to make, and can be largely prepared ahead of time — or at the last minute. The tuna is sliced thinly, then coated with a marinade and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds and cilantro. The carpaccio may be served as a starter or as a light main dish, perhaps accompanied by a salad.

For best results, get the freshest tuna you can find. Ask the fishmonger for a skinless tuna steak about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. The other ingredients are sesame oil, soy sauce, fresh ginger, lime, sesame seeds and fresh cilantro. Sesame oil is available at Asian shops. If you have some on hand make sure it’s fresh, as it tends to go off after a couple of months.

The easiest way to obtain thin slices is to place the tuna in the freezer 10 minutes before you slice it — and to use a very sharp knife. For a gala dish, you can sprinkle the carpaccio with a little trout roe in addition to the toasted sesame seeds.

The quantities below will serve 2 people.

7 ounces (200 g) very fresh raw tuna
2 tsp. sesame seeds
4 tsp. sesame oil

1 tsp. soy sauce
1 small thumb fresh ginger
2 limes
1 small pinch sugar

1 bunch fresh cilantro
2 tsp. trout roe (optional)

Slice the tuna thinly. Refrigerate.

Preheat the oven to gas mark 6 (35o F, 180 C).

Measure the sesame seeds into a small cake or pie tin. When the oven is hot, bake until golden brown, about 5-10 minutes. Be careful — once the seeds start to brown it goes very quickly and they can easily burn. As soon as you can smell their aroma, begin checking the oven every minute or so. When the seeds are toasted, set aside.

In the meantime, make the marinade. Combine the sesame oil and soy sauce in a bowl. Peel the ginger, grate it finely, measure out 1 tsp.and add to the bowl. Add the grated zest of one lime, then halve the lime and squeeze in 1/2 tsp. lime juice. Add a small pinch of sugar. Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired.

At this point you can pause the recipe, as the carpaccio should be assembled at the last minute. No need to refrigerate the marinade.

When ready to serve, toss the tuna in the marinade. Arrange the slices on two plates. Drizzle on a little extra sesame oil. Sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds. Top prettily with cilantro leaves. Chop the second lime into quarters or eighths for garnish.

If also garnishing with trout roe, sprinkle it over the plates.

Serve immediately. Serves 2.

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