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Tuna Carpaccio


True carpaccio, a dish originally using beef that was invented in Harry's Bar in Venice during the 1950s, requires a homemade mayo and a dash of good mustard. Cooks employ endless accoutremont to their "carpaccios," but this carpaccio recipe remains true to Harry's ideal. Incidentally, it's named for the 15th century artist Vittore Carpaccio, who was well-known for his use of bright colors.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes


  • 1/2 to 1 pound top-quality tuna, cut into a slab 1 inch thick
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 room-temperature egg yolks
  • A pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 t. high-quality grainy mustard
  • Fleur de sel or another high-quality sea salt
  • 4 t. tiny capers


You will need something to pound the tuna, either a meat mallet or a wine bottle or a soft regular mallet. You will also need wax paper.

Chill the tuna in the freezer for an hour or two, until it is stiff but not frozen through. Slice it horizontally into four 1/4 inch pieces.

Take each slice of tuna and put it between two pieces of wax paper, then pound it gently from the center outward, until it is very thin, about 1/8 of an inch. If you want to get fancy, cut it to a regular shape such as a perfect square or circle. When you're finished, set the slices -- still in the wax paper -- in the fridge.

Make the fresh mayonnaise. Whisk the egg yolks with a little salt until the yolks are light. Add a teaspoon of lemon juice and keep whisking. Drizzle in the olive oil slowly, whisking, whisking, whisking all the while. It will be runnier than store-bought mayo, but it should still hold its shape when a dollop is put on the plate.

To serve, spread a thin sheen of olive oil on the plate and top with the tuna pieces. Spread a teaspoon of the capers on each plate, then put a dollop of the mayo and a dollop of the mustard on the side of the tuna, allowing your guests to add as much as they want.

Right at service, sprinkle some of the fleur de sel and a bit of the remaining lemon juice on the tuna and serve at once.

A dry rose from Spain or Provence would go perfectly with this.

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