Tuna/Avocado Tartare, Crispy Wantons, Mango Jalapeño Chutney, Wasabi Crema, Yum!

I went to the Hollywood Bowl last night with some good friends.  Someone else was making the entree so I was free to just make an appetizer. We all thought this was pretty damn good …

There is something about Tuna and Avocado that works. There is a part of me that thinks that certain foods were just ordained to be eaten together and this combination is one of them. Make sure you get the best Sashimi grade tuna you can buy at a very good Fish Market.  I buy all my fish at Fish King in Glendale and I will admit to being a little spoiled.

The mango, jalapeño chutney creates needed acidity for this dish and the wasabi cream was an afterthought, but it adds a nice – well – “wasabi-ness” – to each bite.

The wantons, crema, chutney and Tartare sauce can be made well ahead of time and the crema, chutney and sauce benefit from a little time in the refrigerator. Just don’t combine the sauce and the Tuna/Avocado until JUST before you serve the dish or the sauce will over “cook” the fresh ingredients.

Ingredients.

Mango Chutney

  • 1 Mango, diced.
  • 1 TBS red onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (if you like more heat leave the seeds)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp (pinch) Cumin
  • 1 TBS Honey or 2 TBS Blue Agave Syrup
  • 1/2 Grapefruit (optional) all skins and seeds removed, diced
  • 1 TBS Sesame Oil
  • If your mango is very ripe (sweet) add 1 TBS rice wine (or champagne) vinegar for the extra acidity

Tartare

  • 1 lb Sashimi grade blue fin or ahi Tuna (cut into small cubes)
  • 1 shallot or 2 TBS onion, diced very small (minced)
  • 1 persian cucumber diced very small (almost minced)
  • 1 Avocado (Haas are best) diced the same size as the Tuna
  • 2 TBS Best Foods or Hellmans Mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp asian garlic/chili sauce (available in any market)
  • 2 tsp sesame oil (if you have some in the refrigerator or your pantry that is more than a month old throw it out and buy fresh!)
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 TBS honey or Blue Agave Syrup
  • sesame seeds for garnish
  • pinch of salt and a few turns of the peppermill

Wantons

  • 1 package wanton skins (any grocery store)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup neutral cooking oil for frying. (not olive oil!)
  • Salt for sprinking

Wasabi Crema

  • 1/2 Cup Mexican Crema (or 1/3 cup sour cream and 3 TBS cream stirred together)
  • 1 TBS Wasabi Powder (Buy it at your fish market)

For the Wantons.

The trick with frying wantons is your oil can’t be too hot. These things are very delicate and they burn in a heartbeat.  I salt and eat the ones I burn.  (and every once in a while burn one on purpose!). I like mine round so I use a larger round cookie cutter to cut mine down. Suit yourself. Use a small frying pan – like an omelette pan, and about 1/2 inch of frying oil heated just hot enough to bubble when you put the wanton in. Turn them quickly with tongs and remove from the oil when they start to brown. Sprinkle salt on them as soon as you take them out of the pan. Let them cool on a paper towel.  Try not to eat them all before you make the Tartare. (It takes a little while to do this right and you want to do it when you’re going to have an extra dose of patience. They can be made well ahead of time and kept in a cool, dry place).

For the Chutney

Combine the ingredients in a food processor and pulse a few times to your desired consistency. Taste and adjust flavors as you wish. Cover and refrigerate.

For the Crema

Whisk the crema and the wasabi powder together in a small bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. (The wasabi flavor will intensify over time so don’t use too much).

For the Tartare

Combine everything but the tuna and avocado, cover and refrigerate until you are ready to serve. (make this as long ahead as one day and it will keep just fine).  Letting it cool for a while will meld the flavors.  When your guests are ready to devour this dish, fold the Tuna and Avocado gently into the sauce.

Serving

Stack it!  The Wanton goes on the bottom, then the tartare, chutney and crema. Sprinkle a few of the sesame seeds (black ones look nice) on the top if you want.  Try not to make yummy sounds. Eat this dish in small portions and make it last…

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