04 Sep2008


One of the best ways to cut down on caloric intake is to eat more of your food in a raw state. The less you do to the food, the better it is likely to be for your body. So in an effort to cut back on fats, etc., I experimented with some fresh tuna the other day with some mixed results. First of all, you need a really good slice of fresh tuna, and sometimes you get it without any muscle or whatever the white bits are, and sometimes you don’t. The really good Japanese restaurants will serve you tuna sashimi that is a bright or nearly dark reddish color, without “veins.” So what was I futzing with the other day? A 1/2 kilo block of reasonably good, but not brilliant, sashimi quality tuna from Seaside market, which was cut into sashimi sized logs. Then I cut these further into about 1 inch square pieces and laid 7 of these squares on a piece of plastic wrap. Covered this with another piece of plastic wrap and carefully pounded it with a flat meat pounder into a roughly round shape with a relatively thin (1/8th inch or so) layer of tuna. Place this in the fridge for about an hour before you want to serve the tuna.


An hour later, remove one sheet of the plastic wrap, and lay the flattened tuna onto a dinner plate, then remove the other piece of plastic wrap and what you will have is a round disk of very thin tuna almost “painted” onto your plate. Then I got a bit inventive, seasoning some young arugula with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and some salt and pepper and I put that in the center of the plate. It looked a bit blah so I drizzled really good balsamic vinegar directly on the fish. This version tasted pretty good, but not great… it was a bit too bland for my taste buds and you had to have a bit of salad on each fork full, along with the tuna to get the essence of the dish. The peppery arugula, dressed with oil and vinegar, in a sense overwhelmed the fish. This was probably a 6.5/10.0 in my opinion… I was thinking at this point I should have drizzled the carpaccio with a wasabi and soy sauce spiked mayonnaise instead, for a simply whacked version of tuna sashimi…


But not one to give up so easily, I made a second plate that I drizzled with lemon, kikkoman soy sauce nd julienned pickled ginger and salt and pepper. This version was better, in my opinion, but still a little bland. But when I added thin slices of pickled ginger, this really transformed itself from boring to delicious, a 8.0/10.0, perhaps. Again, the risk is that the ginger overpowers the delicate, and sometimes appropriately described, tasteless fish.


If you are fond of tuna sashimi, you would like either of these dishes. But if you are a more traditional sort that likes beef carpaccio, I would stick with the beef. I think good raw beef pounded to a very thin layer and dressed with oil or lemon or shavings of parmesan are superb, and no matter how the tuna is dressed up, it will be a second choice to the original way of preparing a beef carpaccio…


And with the last piece os tuna, I decided to just slice it up and present it on a small plate, with sliced pickled ginger and some wasabi for The Kid, who loves sashimi but wasn’t sure about the carpaccio experiments… this with some good soy sauce, was a good as it always is. All of this, btw, qualifies as diet food in our house!



  1. Edwin D. says:

    Hmmm… salmonella

    Sep 4, 2008 | 2:45 pm


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  3. Marketman says:

    Edwin D., to be a bit more factual, salmonella is most typically present in eggs, raw eggs, egg shells, raw meat, unpasteurized fresh milk, etc. as well as on some foods that are cooked but allowed to sit for too long… the risk of salmonella, even from eggs, is estimated by the USDA, accdg to this site, to be ONE potential egg exposure per person EVERY 42 years. And just because there is a bad egg, doesn’t mean you will get salmonella, since most folks cook their eggs. As such, salmonella is a minor risk in the universe, let alone with this tuna fish, unless it was sitting on an infected chicken or duck egg, but I do agree, it is still a risk. I would, however, posit the lovely thought that you are more likely to eat from a plate of restaurant food, where the waiter/waitress or cook did NOT wash their hands before coming out of the bathroom, and where there was likely no toilet paper, and they may have left some nasties on the edge of your plate, much more likely to cause you all kinds of stomach problems… AND THE RISK of that scenario is far greater, though still small, than salmonella… As another lovely thought, it is estimated that between 50-70% of all people using public bathrooms do not wash their hands, so in the course of a normal business day, when one shakes say 5 people’s hands then touch their faces or noses or mouth, that there is a similar risk of something nasty happening. EVen opening a door using the doorknob presents HUGE relative risks. The point of this comment being… we should be aware of risks, but we shouldn’t make them out to be more than what they really are. Having said that, with my luck, I will probably get amoebiasis the next time I buy taho from my suki street vendor… :) Oh, and a final tip, if you want to eliminate some types of potential bacteria in raw fish, some folks suggest you freeze the fish such as tuna for at least 1 day, before you defrost it just before using it… but true sushi lovers would consider that a sacrilege, I suspect.

    Sep 4, 2008 | 3:05 pm

  4. FoodJunkie says:

    Couldn’t agree more. I think lemon is always a good choice for fish. Balsamic is too strong especially for a fine fish like tuna. I prefer my tuna seared slightly though.

    Sep 4, 2008 | 3:06 pm

  5. Lee says:

    Salmonella? cute little salmon?

    Sep 4, 2008 | 4:48 pm

  6. Apicio says:

    Yes Lee, orphaned and exploited by her wicked step-mother, Escherichia.

    Sep 4, 2008 | 6:21 pm

  7. Lex says:

    That I why I love this blog. I love the articles, comments and responses. Honest, Creative and Entertaining!!!!!!

    I want to share with you a delicious raw tuna recipe I found in a William Sonoma cookbook you may enjoy.

    Ahi Tuna Poke
    1 lb. (500g) sashimi grade ahi tuna, skin and bones removed
    1/2 cup (75 grams)chopped sweet onions
    3 tbsp. soy sauce
    2 tbsp. fresh cilantro leaves, more for garnish
    2 tsp. sesame seeds, toasted
    few dashes sesame oil
    large pinch coarse sea salt
    pinch of red chili flakes
    With a sharp knife cut tuna into 3/4″ cubes, place tuna in a bowl. Add onion, soy sauce, minced cilantro, sesame seeds, sesame oil, salt and red pepper flakes. toss the mixture gently. Cover and refrigerate poke until well chilled
    Spoon the poke into individual bowls. Serve chilled. Garnish with cilantro sprigs.


    Sep 4, 2008 | 6:55 pm

  8. Marketman says:

    Lex, thanks for that… it sounds pretty interesting, a bit like a tuna tartare I did a few weeks ago, but with more asian flavorings… Lee, Salmonella, after Daniel Salmon, the guy who discovered the bacteria in 1906… :)

    Sep 4, 2008 | 7:21 pm

  9. mikel says:

    wasabi sauce is best for tuna carpaccio. great with the japanese version of cole slaw!

    Sep 4, 2008 | 7:29 pm

  10. chrisb says:

    Actually, I think in all the documentaries I’ve watched about the Tuna trade for sashimi, the tuna carcasses are deep frozen at sea or submerged in a below-freezing slurry of ice and water. So freezing isn’t necessarily bad…

    Sep 4, 2008 | 7:58 pm

  11. EbbaMyra says:

    From another cooking blog, I learned about Ponzu sauce. Loved it. Tried it on different sushi including tuna. Really great topped chopped chives and pickled ginger on the sides.

    Sep 4, 2008 | 9:14 pm

  12. betty q. says:

    For the tuna sashimi lovers out there…a word of caution: as with everything else, the key is moderation. I am talking from personal experience. We eat Japanese food at least once a week. My 15 year old has undergone lab test for mercury poisoning. We are talking 6 times above the normal level. Had I not insisted on seeing a neuro pediatrician, one day, he could succumb to mercury poisonng. Now, he is on a strict NO TUNA IN ANY FORM DIET! It has been 5 months since then and the level has gone down tremendously.

    Sep 5, 2008 | 2:30 am

  13. sonia says:

    we all learn so much from this blog- from MM and the readers as well. Apicio what is escherichia?

    Sep 5, 2008 | 4:13 am

  14. pulutan says:

    Lex, that’s my favorite menu at Bone Fish Seafood Resto served with rice pilaf here in the Southeast. Thanks for the recipe. I’ll try to make it after my next deep sea fishing in San Diego next month . . . regards.

    Sep 5, 2008 | 5:22 am

  15. Apicio says:

    Sonia, that the e in e coli.

    Sep 5, 2008 | 6:52 am

  16. millet says:

    lee and apicio, you guys provided my morning laugh! MM, i’d take tuna sashimi,sushi and kinilaw over carpaccio or pan-seared tuna anytime.

    bettyq, that is scary! tuna, mackerel, and a few other species have naturally high levels of mercury, but some have even higher, depending on where they have been feeding. because of this, some places (the US, included, i think) routinely advises pregnant women to refrain from eating tuna (even the canned ones).

    Sep 5, 2008 | 7:20 am

  17. aggy says:

    please read this article about tuna:

    Sep 5, 2008 | 7:46 am

  18. Marketman says:

    aggy, yes, I have heard of carbon monoxide treatment on tuna. I hope the locally sold ones aren’t treated, but how can one be sure without testing it? My feeling is, it is quite cheap, and less prime, due to the “litid”, and a pink rather than deep red tuna… and hopefully they didn’t bother to apply carbon monoxide to it as it sells rather briskly after being flown in from Mindanao… but will we ever know. I have purchased freshly caught small whole yellowfin tuna in provincial markets and make sashimi directly after cutting it open, and I can tell you, the FRESHEST tuna is incredibly maroon red, without the carbon monoxide treatment… Maybe for the Seaside Market sourced tuna, I can buy a bit of it and leave it out on the kitchen counter for a few hours, if it turns brown, it’s probably not treated with carbon monoxide…

    Sep 5, 2008 | 8:32 am

  19. lee says:

    yeah… Escherichia and her evil daughters….poor Salmonella, she the one with the seven dwarfs?

    Sep 5, 2008 | 9:10 am

  20. Apicio says:

    Sorry Marketman ‘cause this is way out of topic but Lee is sure to get a kick out of this link where I lifted the following:

    Vowing revenge on his English teacher for making him memorize Wordsworth’s “Intimations of Immortality,” Warren decided to pour sugar in her gas tank, but he inadvertently grabbed a sugar substitute so it was actually Splenda in the gas.


    Sep 5, 2008 | 9:38 am

  21. Marketman says:

    Apicio, thanks for the link… hahaha. And you realize, Lee is a professor/teacher, right? :)

    Sep 5, 2008 | 9:45 am

  22. Nina says:

    My family loves sashimi. We haven’t made tuna carpaccio though. My husband and son would probably not like the thinness of the tuna pieces in carpaccio, they enjoy a really good thick slice of raw tuna or raw salmon either neat or with wasabi/soy sauce.
    With regards to the nasties in food, if it’s a quality ingredient, hygienically prepared and properly handled, there is no reason to fear the presence of food-borne bacteria.

    Sep 5, 2008 | 10:14 am

  23. lee says:

    thanks for the link apicio!

    “Die, commie pigs!” grunted Sergeant “Rocky” Steele through his cigar stub as he machine-gunned the North Korean farm animals.


    Sep 5, 2008 | 12:35 pm

  24. Cecile J says:

    Lee, Salmonella is the one with the glass bacteria. She had to be home by midnight.

    Sep 5, 2008 | 1:52 pm

  25. lee says:

    yes Cecile or her coach will turn into a mold spore.

    Sep 5, 2008 | 2:28 pm

  26. Marketman says:

    Hahaha… trust the regular commenters to make a fairy tale out of mercury laden, bacteria prone, raw deep sea fish meat that was suffocated with carbon monoxide… :)

    Sep 5, 2008 | 2:54 pm

  27. Gigi says:

    mm, you cook well and now, seems like the photos look so much better too!

    Sep 5, 2008 | 4:54 pm

  28. maddie says:

    lol! thanks for the laugh guys.

    Sep 6, 2008 | 11:53 am

  29. dragon says:

    I haven’t had a good laugh in a while: I needed that.

    Muchas gracias tres caballeros (Lee, Apicio, Cecile J)!

    Sep 11, 2008 | 1:24 pm

  30. dragon says:

    I got sidetracked: tuna (& beef) carpaccio is pretty much a staple serve in any restaurant in Noumea. A few capers with a light dressing of creamy herbed vinaigrette, optional s&p to taste.

    Sep 11, 2008 | 1:30 pm


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