The brilliance of this dish, is that all of the ingredients and therefore, flavors get to be eaten at the same time with each bite. Not a lot of dishes offer that opportunity. Secondly, the flavors are both fresh and vibrant, but also sharp and zesty. It's perfect for the warmer weather and a show stopper if you make it for a dinner party. You can also substitute the fish for another kind, which makes it versatile.
Sea Bass Tartare with Mango
serves 2 as a starter
140 g fresh sea bass cut in very small cubes
25 g shallots
100 g diced mango
1 t cilantro - finely chopped
1 T chives - finely chopped
3 T lime juice
1/4 of the lime zested with a microplane grater. ONLY the green, NO white of the lime's skin-that is bitter and it will ruin the dish!
1 1/2 T good quality olive oil
a small dash of toasted sesame oil (be careful not to use too much-it's very strong!)
a splash of low sodium soy sauce (about a 1/4 t should do)
To begin, the fish has to be fresh! Eating raw fish that isn't fresh can make anyone sick.
Note #1: Make sure that all of your ingredients are cut very small and uniformly. The mango and sea bass should be cut in the same sizes. And the herbs and the shallots as well. This allows for balance in each bite.
Note #2: Once the fish takes the dressing, the pieces will begin to shrink after 5-15 minutes. If you don't serve it right away the acids in the citrus begin to cook the fish. You can also let it sit for 20 minutes and serve it as a ceviche instead of a tartare if desired. No problem! But then serve it with some tortilla chips...
Note #3: In the dressing, it is very important that you be careful with the sesame oil and the soy sauce. The point of using these ingredients is to give the meal a depth that citrus juice itself just cannot do on its own. But if you put too much it becomes a very asian dish instead of, just a fresh summery one. Mix you dressing ingredients and set aside in a larger mixing bowl.
Cube or mince the rest of the ingredients well. When ready to mix and plate, grab any ring mold or large cookie cutter round you have in house to help keep it in a circle form. If you don't have one, don't worry, just plate it as is. Add all of the chopped ingredients into the bowl with the dressing and mix well. First, I mix it and taste it to make sure the salt and pepper are ok. Then, you can also decide if you need a drop or two more of the soy sauce or the sesame oil. Mix one last time.
To plate: Using a soup spoon, scoop 1/2 the tartare into the ring mold and gently press it down. Then, lift the ring mold and it should stay in place. Repeat with the second portion and serve with some fresh herbs and/or something crunchy for texture.
Once plated, carefully run to the table and serve, the juices will seep out.