We had a few quail eggs left over from our quail eggs with pancetta and brioche creation, so when we came across this recipe in our file, it was the perfect excuse to finally try this recipe we’ve held on to for five (yes, really) years. The verdict? We won’t wait another five years to make it again.
Recipe adapted from The Wall Street Journal’s reprint of Charlie Trotter’s classic tuna tartare recipe. Makes four servings.
• 1 pound sashimi-grade tuna (Spanish Bluefin, Hawaiian ahi or Maine yellowfin)
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 tablespoons fine-diced cucumber
• 1 tablespoon grated ginger
• 1 tablespoon minced shallot
• ½ tablespoon minced garlic
• 2 tablespoons lemon juice
• Zest of one small lemon
• Dijon mustard vinaigrette (recipe below)
• 4 to 8 quail egg yolks, lightly poached (these are optional, but we highly recommend)
For the Dijon mustard vinaigrette:
• ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
• Salt and pepper
What to note before tackling the recipe:
• Purchase the sushi-grade tuna the day you plan to make the dish.
• Before you buy the sushi-grade tuna, ask the fish monger when the fish arrived. If it arrived more than one day ago, do not purchase it.
• Put the ingredients in the fridge as you finish prepping them.
• We highly recommend trying this with the quail eggs. After taste-testing one batch with and one batch without, the version with the quail eggs had a nice creaminess to it that completed the Dijon mustard vinaigrette.
Prepare the Dijon mustard vinaigrette first. Add the Dijon and white-wine vinegar to a small bowl. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking constantly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Put in the fridge upon completion to chill while you prepare the rest of the dish.
Put a medium-sized glass bowl in the fridge to chill for the tuna. Put serving plate(s) in the fridge to chill too.
Separate the yolks in the quail eggs and set aside. Since quail eggs are too small to crack like a regular egg, we recommend carefully using a knife to crack the shell.
Put approximately 1 inch of water in a non-stick pan and bring to a very low simmer. You’ll poach the quail egg yolks in this water, but first you’ll want to get some additional prep work out of the way.
Mince the garlic and shallots. Grate the ginger, finely dice the cucumber, zest the lemon and squeeze 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Put these ingredients in the fridge to chill.
Slice the tuna into ¾-inch diced portions and place in the chilled glass dish. Drizzle the olive oil in the bowl, gently stirring the tuna to coat. Add the garlic, shallots, ginger and cucumber. Gently toss ingredients together. Do not add the lemon zest or juice until right before serving. Put the bowl in the fridge.
Add the lemon zest and juice to the tuna mixture, tossing gently.
Lightly cook the quail egg yolks by poaching them in the barely simmering water. While they are cooking, begin to assemble the dish by placing a biscuit cutter on the chilled plate and spoon the tuna into the ring mold. Gently press down with the back of the spoon to help the tuna keep its form.
Gently place the quail egg yolk on top. Lightly drizzle a small amount of the Dijon mustard vinaigrette on top of the dish, and remove the biscuit cutter before serving.