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Appetizers, Fish and Shellfish, Quick and Easy

Big-eye tuna tartare

Big-eye tuna tartare
Anacleto Rapping / Los Angeles Times

Tuna tartare may be the single most popular dish at L.A. restaurants for the last five years running. But most versions around town are so anonymous they're forgotten before they're finished. Not at Water Grill. First of all, the quality ... Read more

Total time: 30 minutes | Serves 4

Avocado relish

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon diced red onion
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt, pepper

Step 1Mash the avocado flesh with the tines of a fork and add the lemon juice. Add the onion and chives. Add the oil in a stream, stirring to blend. Add the salt and pepper to taste.

Green peppercorn dressing

  • 1 tablespoon canned green peppercorns, plus 1 tablespoon juice from the can
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt, pepper
  • 6 tablespoons sunflower oil or grape seed oil

Step 1Place the peppercorns, their juice, the mustard and the lemon juice in a blender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Blend at low speed for 30 seconds. Add the oil in a slow stream, blending on high speed. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper.


  • 4 small red radishes
  • 6 ounces big-eye tuna, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • Salt, pepper
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
  • 1 cup mixed greens

Step 1Slice the radishes as thinly as possible, using a mandoline if you have one.

Step 2Make a ring with the radishes in the center of each of 4 chilled plates. Place a 2 1/2 inch-diameter ring mold in the center of each ring of radishes. Divide the avocado relish among the molds; it should not be more than one-half-inch tall.

Step 3Season the tuna with salt and pepper. Add the green peppercorn dressing to taste, about 1 1/2 tablespoons. Add the chives and onion. Mix well. Adjust the seasoning. Divide the tuna among the 4 molds and smooth the tops. Remove the molds. Dress the greens very lightly with about 1 tablespoon of the dressing. Place the greens decoratively over the tuna. Drizzle the remaining dressing around the plates. Serve immediately.

Note: Although this recipe may look intimidating, there's not much more to it than assembling a salad. Green peppercorns are available at specialty markets and well-stocked supermarkets. Big-eye tuna is sold at specialty supermarkets and fish stores. Keep the tuna on ice as you work with it. Metal ring molds can be found at cookware stores and are often sold in sets.


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